Chitin synthase in the filarial parasite, Brugia malayi.Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2000 Dec; 111(2):351-62.MB
Fragments of putative chitin synthase (chs) genes from two filarial species (Brugia malayi and Dirofilaria immitis) were amplified by PCR using degenerate primers. The full genomic and cDNA sequences were obtained for the B. malayi chs gene (Bm-chs-1); the predicted amino acid sequence is highly similar, over a large region, to two CHS sequences of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and also to two insect CHS sequences. Bm-chs-1 is abundantly transcribed in B. malayi adult females, independent of their fertilization status, but is also expressed in males and microfilariae. Oocytes and early embryos contain large amounts of Bm-chs-1 transcript by in situ hybridization, but later stage embryos within the maternal uterus show little or no Bm-chs-1 transcript. No specific hybridization could be demonstrated in maternal somatic tissues. Polyclonal antibodies were raised against a peptide expressed from a recombinant cDNA fragment of Bm-chs-1; immunostaining detected CHS protein in oocytes and early to midstage embryos. These studies characterize a gene that is likely to be essential to oogenesis and embryonic development in a parasitic nematode. Because chitin synthesis and eggshell formation begin after fertilization, the presence of CHS protein in early oocytes suggests that the enzyme must be activated as a result of fertilization. These studies also demonstrate that chitin synthesis may not be restricted to eggshell formation in nematodes, as the Bm-chs-1 gene is transcribed in life cycle stages other than adult females.