The antimicrobial activity of chitosan has been acknowledged for more than 30. years and yet its mode-of-action remains ambiguous. We analyzed chemical-genetic interactions of low-molecular weight chitosan using a collection of ≈ 4600 S. cerevisiae deletion mutants and found that 31% of the 107 mutants most sensitive to chitosan had deletions of genes related primarily to functions involving protein synthesis. Disruption of protein synthesis by chitosan was substantiated by an in vivo β-galactosidase expression assay suggesting that this is a primary mode of antifungal action. Analysis of the yeast gene deletion array and secondary assays also indicate that chitosan has a minor membrane disruption effect - a leading model of chitosan antimicrobial activity.

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Keywords β-Galactosidase expression, Antifungal activity, Cell membrane disruption, Chitosan, Yeast gene deletion array
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Journal International Journal of Food Microbiology
Galván Márquez, I. (Imelda), Akuaku, J. (Jones), Cruz, I. (Isabel), Cheetham, J, Golshani, A, & Smith, M. (2013). Disruption of protein synthesis as antifungal mode of action by chitosan. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 164(1), 108–112. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2013.03.025