Chlorella virus PBCV-1 encodes two putative chitinase genes, a181/182r and a260r, and one chitosanase gene, a2921. The three genes were cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant A181/182R protein has endochitinase activity, recombinant A260R has both endochitinase and exochitinase activities, and recombinant A292L has chitosanase activity. Transcription of a181/182r, a260r, and a2921 genes begins at 30, 60, and 60 min p.i., respectively; transcription of all three genes continues until the cells lyse. A181/182R, A260R, and A292L proteins are first detected by Western blots at 60, 90, and 120 min p.i., respectively. Therefore, a181/182r is an early gene and a260r and a2921 are late genes. All three genes are widespread in chlorella viruses. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that the ancestral condition of the a 181/182r gene arose from the most recent common ancestor of a gene found in tobacco, whereas the genealogical position of the a260r gene could not be unambiguously resolved.
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