CryoEM structure of chitin synthase 1 from Phytophthora sojae complexed with the nascent chitooligosaccharide

Experimental Data Snapshot

  • Resolution: 3.90 Å
  • Aggregation State: PARTICLE 
  • Reconstruction Method: SINGLE PARTICLE 

wwPDB Validation   3D Report Full Report

This is version 1.3 of the entry. See complete history


Structural basis for directional chitin biosynthesis.

Chen, W.Cao, P.Liu, Y.Yu, A.Wang, D.Chen, L.Sundarraj, R.Yuchi, Z.Gong, Y.Merzendorfer, H.Yang, Q.

(2022) Nature 610: 402-408

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-05244-5
  • Primary Citation of Related Structures:  
    7WJM, 7WJN, 7WJO, 7X05, 7X06

  • PubMed Abstract: 

    Chitin, the most abundant aminopolysaccharide in nature, is an extracellular polymer consisting of N-acetylglucosamine (GlcNAc) units 1 . The key reactions of chitin biosynthesis are catalysed by chitin synthase 2-4 , a membrane-integrated glycosyltransferase that transfers GlcNAc from UDP-GlcNAc to a growing chitin chain. However, the precise mechanism of this process has yet to be elucidated. Here we report five cryo-electron microscopy structures of a chitin synthase from the devastating soybean root rot pathogenic oomycete Phytophthora sojae (PsChs1). They represent the apo, GlcNAc-bound, nascent chitin oligomer-bound, UDP-bound (post-synthesis) and chitin synthase inhibitor nikkomycin Z-bound states of the enzyme, providing detailed views into the multiple steps of chitin biosynthesis and its competitive inhibition. The structures reveal the chitin synthesis reaction chamber that has the substrate-binding site, the catalytic centre and the entrance to the polymer-translocating channel that allows the product polymer to be discharged. This arrangement reflects consecutive key events in chitin biosynthesis from UDP-GlcNAc binding and polymer elongation to the release of the product. We identified a swinging loop within the chitin-translocating channel, which acts as a 'gate lock' that prevents the substrate from leaving while directing the product polymer into the translocating channel for discharge to the extracellular side of the cell membrane. This work reveals the directional multistep mechanism of chitin biosynthesis and provides a structural basis for inhibition of chitin synthesis.

  • Organizational Affiliation

    School of Bioengineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian, China. qingyang@caas.cn.

Find similar proteins by:  (by identity cutoff)  |  3D Structure
Entity ID: 1
MoleculeChains Sequence LengthOrganismDetailsImage
Chitin synthase
A, B
913Phytophthora sojae strain P6497Mutation(s): 0 
Gene Names: PHYSODRAFT_557500
Membrane Entity: Yes 
Find proteins for G4Z2L3 (Phytophthora sojae (strain P6497))
Explore G4Z2L3 
Go to UniProtKB:  G4Z2L3
Entity Groups  
Sequence Clusters30% Identity50% Identity70% Identity90% Identity95% Identity100% Identity
UniProt GroupG4Z2L3
Sequence Annotations
  • Reference Sequence


Entity ID: 2
MoleculeChains Length2D Diagram Glycosylation3D Interactions
C, D
Glycosylation Resources
GlyTouCan:  G47362BJ
GlyCosmos:  G47362BJ
GlyGen:  G47362BJ
Experimental Data & Validation

Experimental Data

  • Resolution: 3.90 Å
  • Aggregation State: PARTICLE 
  • Reconstruction Method: SINGLE PARTICLE 

Structure Validation

View Full Validation Report

Entry History & Funding Information

Deposition Data

Funding OrganizationLocationGrant Number
National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)China32161133010
National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)China31830076
National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)China31901916

Revision History  (Full details and data files)

  • Version 1.0: 2022-09-28
    Type: Initial release
  • Version 1.1: 2022-10-05
    Changes: Database references
  • Version 1.2: 2022-10-12
    Changes: Database references
  • Version 1.3: 2022-10-26
    Changes: Database references