Isolation and characterization of a chitinase-secreting mutant of mortierella pusilla with altered interaction with the mycoparasite piptocephalis virginiana
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Mortierella pusilla is a susceptible host and supports good growth of the mycoparasite, Piptocephalis virginiana. Uninucleate spores of M. pusilla were sUbjected to N-methyl-N'-nitro-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG). To attain a high mutation frequency , a 1o-minute exposure to 10 mg/ml MNNG was used and lead to the survival of about 10 % of the spores. The exposed spores then were plated on chitin or milk plates. Approximately 30,000 colonies were examined after mutagenesis on the screening media. A strain, MUT23 , with abnormal slow growth morphology was found to delay parasitism by £. virginiana. The particular morphology was not due to auxotrophy, because this strain displayed normal hyphae when glucose was used as the sole carbon source. One interesting phenomenon was that MUT23 showed an extensive clearing zone around the colony on colloidal chitin agar after 20-25 d. On the same conditions, wild type strain did not show this phenotype. In addition, the MUT23 strain produced the same normal hypha as the wild type strain when it was grown on colloidal chitin agar. The MUT23 was also able to produce more spores on colloidal chitin agar than on malt-yeast extract and minimal media. The parasite germ tubes formed appressoria at the point of contact on the cell surface of wild type and MUT23 grown for 6 days cell surface but not on the cel surface of MUT23 grown for 2 days. Thus, interaction between MUT23 strain and the mycoparasite was dependent on MUT23 age. The effect of MUT23 filtrate on germination of the parasite was tested. Lysis of germinated spores of the parasite were observed in concentrated MUT23 filtered solution. MUT23 was compared to the wild type strain for their chitinase production in sUbmerged culture. The chitinase isozymes of both wild type and MUT23 were shown by immunoblotting. Eight distinct chitinase molecules were detected. MUT23 showed markedly higher chitinase activity than the wild type cultured in chitin-containing medium. Maximum chitinase activities of MUT23 were 13.5 fold higher at 20 day of the culture then that of wild type.