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1.  A Drosophila model for the Zellweger spectrum of peroxisome biogenesis disorders 
Disease Models & Mechanisms  2011;4(5):659-672.
Human peroxisome biogenesis disorders are lethal genetic diseases in which abnormal peroxisome assembly compromises overall peroxisome and cellular function. Peroxisomes are ubiquitous membrane-bound organelles involved in several important biochemical processes, notably lipid metabolism and the use of reactive oxygen species for detoxification. Using cultured cells, we systematically characterized the peroxisome assembly phenotypes associated with dsRNA-mediated knockdown of 14 predicted Drosophila homologs of PEX genes (encoding peroxins; required for peroxisome assembly and linked to peroxisome biogenesis disorders), and confirmed that at least 13 of them are required for normal peroxisome assembly. We also demonstrate the relevance of Drosophila as a genetic model for the early developmental defects associated with the human peroxisome biogenesis disorders. Mutation of the PEX1 gene is the most common cause of peroxisome biogenesis disorders and is one of the causes of the most severe form of the disease, Zellweger syndrome. Inherited mutations in Drosophila Pex1 correlate with reproducible defects during early development. Notably, Pex1 mutant larvae exhibit abnormalities that are analogous to those exhibited by Zellweger syndrome patients, including developmental delay, poor feeding, severe structural abnormalities in the peripheral and central nervous systems, and early death. Finally, microarray analysis defined several clusters of genes whose expression varied significantly between wild-type and mutant larvae, implicating peroxisomal function in neuronal development, innate immunity, lipid and protein metabolism, gamete formation, and meiosis.
PMCID: PMC3180231  PMID: 21669930
2.  Genome-wide analysis of signaling networks regulating fatty acid–induced gene expression and organelle biogenesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;181(2):281-292.
Reversible phosphorylation is the most common posttranslational modification used in the regulation of cellular processes. This study of phosphatases and kinases required for peroxisome biogenesis is the first genome-wide analysis of phosphorylation events controlling organelle biogenesis. We evaluate signaling molecule deletion strains of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for presence of a green fluorescent protein chimera of peroxisomal thiolase, formation of peroxisomes, and peroxisome functionality. We find that distinct signaling networks involving glucose-mediated gene repression, derepression, oleate-mediated induction, and peroxisome formation promote stages of the biogenesis pathway. Additionally, separate classes of signaling proteins are responsible for the regulation of peroxisome number and size. These signaling networks specify the requirements of early and late events of peroxisome biogenesis. Among the numerous signaling proteins involved, Pho85p is exceptional, with functional involvements in both gene expression and peroxisome formation. Our study represents the first global study of signaling networks regulating the biogenesis of an organelle.
PMCID: PMC2315675  PMID: 18426976
3.  High content screening for non-classical peroxisome proliferators 
Peroxisomes are ubiquitous cellular organelles that perform vital functions including fatty acid beta-oxidation, plasmalogen synthesis, and detoxification of harmful oxidative species. In rodents numerous compounds that increase peroxisome biogenesis also alleviate metabolic syndrome (MetS)/type 2 diabetes (T2D) symptoms. However, compounds that increase peroxisome biogenesis in rodents largely do not increase peroxisome biogenesis in humans. We designed a novel genetically encoded high throughput screening (HTS) high content assay to identify small molecule compounds that function as peroxisome proliferators in human cells. From this assay we have confirmed that 4-phenylbutyrate (PBA), a PPAR independent peroxisome proliferator and chemical chaperone, increases peroxisome proliferation in human cells and serves as a positive control for our screen. We performed a small pilot and larger 15,000 compound production screen with an overall Z′ factor of 0.74 for 384-well plate format, providing a valuable screening tool for identifying peroxisome modulator compounds. From this screen we have identified 4 existing drugs and 10 novel compounds, some with common scaffolds 1000X more potent than PBA. It is hoped that these novel compounds may serve as scaffolds for testing for efficacy in alleviating MetS/T2D symptoms both in mouse models and ultimately human disease.
PMCID: PMC2995584  PMID: 21132080
high-content screening; high-content analysis; peroxisome biogenesis; diabetes; metabolic syndrome; 4-phenylbutyrate
4.  Cloning and characterization of PAS5: a gene required for peroxisome biogenesis in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1993;123(3):535-548.
The biogenesis and maintenance of cellular organelles is of fundamental importance in all eukaryotic cells. One such organelle is the peroxisome. The establishment of a genetic system to study peroxisome biogenesis in the methylotrophic yeast Pichia pastoris has yielded many different complementation groups of peroxisomal assembly (pas) or peroxisome-deficient (per) mutants. Each appears to be deficient in functional peroxisomes. One of these mutants, pas5, has been characterized, complemented, and the gene sequenced. Ultrastructural studies show that normal peroxisomes are not present in pas5, but aberrant peroxisomal structures resembling "membranous ghosts" are frequently observed. The "peroxisome ghosts" appear to be induced and segregated to daughter cells normally. Biochemical fractionation analysis of organelles of the pas5 mutant reveals that peroxisomal matrix enzymes are induced normally but are found mostly in the cytosol. However, purification of peroxisome ghosts from the mutant shows that small amounts (< 5%) of matrix enzymes are imported. The PAS5 gene was cloned and found to encode a 127-kD protein, which contains a 200-amino acid-long region of homology with PAS1, NEM- sensitive factor (NSF), and other related ATPases. Weak homology to a yeast myosin was also observed. The gene is not essential for growth on glucose but is essential for growth on oleic acid and methanol. The role of PAS5 in peroxisome biogenesis is discussed.
PMCID: PMC2200126  PMID: 8227124
5.  Role of the PAS1 gene of Pichia pastoris in peroxisome biogenesis 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1994;127(5):1259-1273.
Several groups have reported the cloning and sequencing of genes involved in the biogenesis of yeast peroxisomes. Yeast strains bearing mutations in these genes are unable to grow on carbon sources whose metabolism requires peroxisomes, and these strains lack morphologically normal peroxisomes. We report the cloning of Pichia pastoris PAS1, the homologue (based on a high level of protein sequence similarity) of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae PAS1. We also describe the creation and characterization of P. pastoris pas1 strains. Electron microscopy on the P. pastoris pas1 cells revealed that they lack morphologically normal peroxisomes, and instead contain membrane-bound structures that appear to be small, mutant peroxisomes, or "peroxisome ghosts." These "ghosts" proliferated in response to induction on peroxisome-requiring carbon sources (oleic acid and methanol), and they were distributed to daughter cells. Biochemical analysis of cell lysates revealed that peroxisomal proteins are induced normally in pas1 cells. Peroxisome ghosts from pas1 cells were purified on sucrose gradients, and biochemical analysis showed that these ghosts, while lacking several peroxisomal proteins, did import varying amounts of several other peroxisomal proteins. The existence of detectable peroxisome ghosts in P. pastoris pas1 cells, and their ability to import some proteins, stands in contrast with the results reported by Erdmann et al. (1991) for the S. cerevisiae pas1 mutant, in which they were unable to detect peroxisome-like structures. We discuss the role of PAS1 in peroxisome biogenesis in light of the new information regarding peroxisome ghosts in pas1 cells.
PMCID: PMC2120248  PMID: 7962088
6.  The significance of peroxisomes in secondary metabolite biosynthesis in filamentous fungi 
Biotechnology Letters  2011;33(10):1921-1931.
Peroxisomes are ubiquitous organelles characterized by a protein-rich matrix surrounded by a single membrane. In filamentous fungi, peroxisomes are crucial for the primary metabolism of several unusual carbon sources used for growth (e.g. fatty acids), but increasing evidence is presented that emphasize the crucial role of these organelles in the formation of a variety of secondary metabolites. In filamentous fungi, peroxisomes also play a role in development and differentiation whereas specialized peroxisomes, the Woronin bodies, play a structural role in plugging septal pores. The biogenesis of peroxisomes in filamentous fungi involves the function of conserved PEX genes, as well as genes that are unique for these organisms. Peroxisomes are also subject to autophagic degradation, a process that involves ATG genes. The interplay between organelle biogenesis and degradation may serve a quality control function, thereby allowing a continuous rejuvenation of the organelle population in the cells.
PMCID: PMC3173629  PMID: 21660569
Filamentous fungi; Penicillin; Penicillium chrysogenum; Peroxisome; Secondary metabolism
7.  Peroxisomes and sexual development in fungi 
Peroxisomes are versatile and dynamic organelles that are essential for the development of most eukaryotic organisms. In fungi, many developmental processes, such as sexual development, require the activity of peroxisomes. Sexual reproduction in fungi involves the formation of meiotic-derived sexual spores, often takes place inside multicellular fruiting bodies and requires precise coordination between the differentiation of multiple cell types and the progression of karyogamy and meiosis. Different peroxisomal functions contribute to the orchestration of this complex developmental process. Peroxisomes are required to sustain the formation of fruiting bodies and the maturation and germination of sexual spores. They facilitate the mobilization of reserve compounds via fatty acid β-oxidation and the glyoxylate cycle, allowing the generation of energy and biosynthetic precursors. Additionally, peroxisomes are implicated in the progression of meiotic development. During meiotic development in Podospora anserina, there is a precise modulation of peroxisome assembly and dynamics. This modulation includes changes in peroxisome size, number and localization, and involves a differential activity of the protein-machinery that drives the import of proteins into peroxisomes. Furthermore, karyogamy, entry into meiosis and sorting of meiotic-derived nuclei into sexual spores all require the activity of peroxisomes. These processes rely on different peroxisomal functions and likely depend on different pathways for peroxisome assembly. Indeed, emerging studies support the existence of distinct import channels for peroxisomal proteins that contribute to different developmental stages.
PMCID: PMC3764329  PMID: 24046747
peroxisomes; peroxins; fungi; sexual development; meiosis; organelle biogenesis; cell differentiation
8.  PEX11β induces peroxisomal gene expression and alters peroxisome number during early Xenopus laevis development 
Peroxisomes are organelles whose roles in fatty acid metabolism and reactive oxygen species elimination have contributed much attention in understanding their origin and biogenesis. Many studies have shown that de novo peroxisome biogenesis is an important regulatory process, while yeast studies suggest that total peroxisome numbers are in part regulated by proteins such as Pex11, which can facilitate the division of existing peroxisomes. Although de novo biogenesis and divisions are likely important mechanisms, the regulation of peroxisome numbers during embryonic development is poorly understood. Peroxisome number and function are particularly crucial in oviparous animals such as frogs where large embryonic yolk and fatty acid stores must be quickly metabolized, and resulting reactive oxygen species eliminated. Here we elucidate the role of Pex11β in regulating peroxisomal gene expression and number in Xenopus laevis embryogenesis.
Microinjecting haemagglutinin (HA) tagged Pex11β in early embryos resulted in increased RNA levels for peroxisome related genes PMP70 and catalase at developmental stages 10 and 20, versus uninjected embryos. Catalase and PMP70 proteins were found in punctate structures at stage 20 in control embryos, whereas the injection of ectopic HA-Pex11β induced their earlier localization in punctate structures at stage 10. Furthermore, the peroxisomal marker GFP-SKL, which was found localized as peroxisome-like structures at stage 20, was similarly found at stage 10 when co-microinjected with HA-Pex11β.
Overexpressed Pex11β altered peroxisomal gene levels and induced the early formation of peroxisomes-like structures during development, both of which demonstrate that Pex11β may be a key regulator of peroxisome number in early Xenopus embryos.
PMCID: PMC3095563  PMID: 21526995
9.  Pmp27 promotes peroxisomal proliferation 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1995;129(2):345-355.
Peroxisomes perform many essential functions in eukaryotic cells. The weight of evidence indicates that these organelles divide by budding from preexisting peroxisomes. This process is not understood at the molecular level. Peroxisomal proliferation can be induced in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by oleate. This growth substrate is metabolized by peroxisomal enzymes. We have identified a protein, Pmp27, that promotes peroxisomal proliferation. This protein, previously termed Pmp24, was purified from peroxisomal membranes, and the corresponding gene, PMP27, was isolated and sequenced. Pmp27 shares sequence similarity with the Pmp30 family in Candida boidinii. Pmp27 is a hydrophobic peroxisomal membrane protein but it can be extracted by high pH, suggesting that it does not fully span the bilayer. Its expression is regulated by oleate. The function of Pmp27 was probed by observing the phenotype of strains in which the protein was eliminated by gene disruption or overproduced by expression from a multicopy plasmid. The strain containing the disruption (3B) was able to grow on all carbon sources tested, including oleate, although growth on oleate, glycerol, and acetate was slower than wild type. Strain 3B contained peroxisomes with all of the enzymes of beta-oxidation. However, in addition to the presence of a few modestly sized peroxisomes seen in a typical thin section of a cell growing on oleate-containing medium, cells of strain 3B also contained one or two very large peroxisomes. In contrast, cells in a strain in which Pmp27 was overexpressed contained an increased number of normal-sized peroxisomes. We suggest that Pmp27 promotes peroxisomal proliferation by participating in peroxisomal elongation or fission.
PMCID: PMC2199913  PMID: 7721939
10.  Hepatocyte-restricted constitutive activation of PPARα induces hepatoproliferation but not hepatocarcinogenesis 
Carcinogenesis  2007;28(6):1171-1177.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) is responsible for peroxisome proliferator-induced pleiotropic responses, including the development of hepatocellular carcinoma in rodents. However, it remains to be determined whether activation of PPARα only in hepatocytes is sufficient to induce hepatocellular carcinomas. To address this issue, transgenic mice were generated that target constitutively activated PPARα specifically to hepatocytes. The transgenic mice exhibited various responses that mimic wild-type mice treated with peroxisome proliferators, including significantly decreased serum fatty acids and marked induction of PPARα target genes encoding fatty acid oxidation enzymes, suggesting that the transgene functions in the same manner as peroxisome proliferators to regulate fatty acid metabolism. However, the transgenic mice did not develop hepatocellular carcinomas, even though they exhibited peroxisome proliferation and hepatocyte proliferation, indicating that these events are not sufficient to induce liver cancer. In contrast to the transgenic mice, peroxisome proliferators activate proliferation of hepatic nonparenchymal cells. Thus, activation of hepatic nonparechymal cells and/or associated molecular events is an important step in peroxisome proliferators-induced hepatocarcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC1885989  PMID: 17331954
VP16PPARα; LAP; carcinogenesis; hepatocytes; tet-off; doxycycline
11.  Transcriptome profiling to identify genes involved in peroxisome assembly and function 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2002;158(2):259-271.
Yeast cells were induced to proliferate peroxisomes, and microarray transcriptional profiling was used to identify PEX genes encoding peroxins involved in peroxisome assembly and genes involved in peroxisome function. Clustering algorithms identified 224 genes with expression profiles similar to those of genes encoding peroxisomal proteins and genes involved in peroxisome biogenesis. Several previously uncharacterized genes were identified, two of which, YPL112c and YOR084w, encode proteins of the peroxisomal membrane and matrix, respectively. Ypl112p, renamed Pex25p, is a novel peroxin required for the regulation of peroxisome size and maintenance. These studies demonstrate the utility of comparative gene profiling as an alternative to functional assays to identify genes with roles in peroxisome biogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2173120  PMID: 12135984
microarray; clustering algorithms; peroxin; PEX25; PEX11
12.  Regulation of Peroxisome dynamics 
Current opinion in cell biology  2009;21(1):119-126.
Peroxisomes are single-membraned organelles ubiquitous to eukaryotic cells that house metabolic reactions that generate and destroy harmful oxidative intermediates. They are dynamic structures whose morphology, abundance, composition and function depend on the cell type and environment. Perhaps due to the potentially damaging and protective metabolic roles of peroxisomes and their dynamic presence in the cell, peroxisome biogenesis is emerging as a process that involves complex underlying mechanisms of regulated formation and maintenance. There are roughly 30 known peroxins, proteins involved in peroxisome biogenesis, many of which have been conserved from yeast to mammals (Table I). This review focuses on the biogenesis of peroxisomes with an emphasis on the regulation of peroxisome formation and the import of peroxisomal matrix proteins in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
PMCID: PMC2681484  PMID: 19188056
13.  A Subtle Interplay Between Three Pex11 Proteins Shapes De Novo Formation and Fission of Peroxisomes 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2011;13(1):157-167.
The organization of eukaryotic cells into membrane-bound compartments must be faithfully sustained for survival of the cell. A subtle equilibrium exists between the degradation and the proliferation of organelles. Commonly, proliferation is initiated by a membrane remodeling process. Here, we dissect the function of proteins driving organelle proliferation in the particular case of peroxisomes. These organelles are formed either through a growth and division process from existing peroxisomes or de novo from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Among the proteins involved in the biogenesis of peroxisomes, peroxins, members of the Pex11 protein family participate in peroxisomal membrane alterations. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the Pex11 family consists of three proteins, Pex11p, Pex25p and Pex27p. Here we demonstrate that yeast mutants lacking peroxisomes require the presence of Pex25p to regenerate this organelle de novo. We also provide evidence showing that Pex27p inhibits peroxisomal function and illustrate that Pex25p initiates elongation of the peroxisomal membrane. Our data establish that although structurally conserved each of the three Pex11 protein family members plays a distinct role. While ScPex11p promotes the proliferation of peroxisomes already present in the cell, ScPex25p initiates remodeling at the peroxisomal membrane and ScPex27p acts to counter this activity. In addition, we reveal that ScPex25p acts in concert with Pex3p in the initiation of de novo peroxisome biogenesis from the ER.
PMCID: PMC3245845  PMID: 21951626
fatty acid consumption; inheritance assay; membrane elongation; membrane proteins; organelle biogenesis; peroxisomes; PEX11; PEX25; PEX27; proliferation
14.  Peroxisome proliferation in Arabidopsis 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2008;3(9):671-673.
Peroxisomes are subcellular organelles with multiple functions mediated by their plasticity and dynamic behavior in plants. Changes in their shape, size, number and enzyme content occur in response to developmental and metabolic cues as well as environmental conditions. The number of peroxisomes per cell is thus mainly determined by its capacity to proliferate. In mammals, peroxisome proliferators such as the hypolipidemic drug clofibrate are perceived by the Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors (PPARs) nuclear receptors. Therein, activated transcription of the peroxisome biogenesis PEX11 genes and the recruitment of dynamin-related proteins lead to peroxisome proliferation. We recently reported that Arabidopsis thaliana, despite of lacking a PPAR homolog protein, activated the proliferation of peroxisomes in response to clofibrate. Concomitantly, clofibrate activated the expression of wound-responsive genes through the jasmonic acid signaling master regulator COI1 F-box protein. Besides, wounding activated the expression of the peroxisome biogenesis-related PEX1 and PEX14 genes, but not of PEX11 or DRP3A, which analogously to mammals, code for the main regulators of peroxisome proliferation in Arabidopsis. Thus, wounding did not activate peroxisome proliferation. Noteworthy, jasmonic acid-treated plants contained fewer but larger peroxisomes. Despite of the cross-talk between clofibrate- and wound-induced signaling, the proliferation of peroxisomes and the wound-activated defense remained uncoupled.
PMCID: PMC2634552  PMID: 19704821
peroxisome proliferation; clofibrate; wound-related signaling; arabidopsis
15.  The peroxisome: still a mysterious organelle 
Histochemistry and Cell Biology  2008;129(4):421-440.
More than half a century of research on peroxisomes has revealed unique features of this ubiquitous subcellular organelle, which have often been in disagreement with existing dogmas in cell biology. About 50 peroxisomal enzymes have so far been identified, which contribute to several crucial metabolic processes such as β-oxidation of fatty acids, biosynthesis of ether phospholipids and metabolism of reactive oxygen species, and render peroxisomes indispensable for human health and development. It became obvious that peroxisomes are highly dynamic organelles that rapidly assemble, multiply and degrade in response to metabolic needs. However, many aspects of peroxisome biology are still mysterious. This review addresses recent exciting discoveries on the biogenesis, formation and degradation of peroxisomes, on peroxisomal dynamics and division, as well as on the interaction and cross talk of peroxisomes with other subcellular compartments. Furthermore, recent advances on the role of peroxisomes in medicine and in the identification of novel peroxisomal proteins are discussed.
PMCID: PMC2668598  PMID: 18274771
Peroxisomes; Mitochondria; Organelle dynamics; Biogenesis; Organelle cross talk; Dynamin; Disease; Pexophagy; Fatty liver disease; Neuroinflammation
16.  Pexophagy: The Selective Degradation of Peroxisomes 
Peroxisomes are single-membrane-bounded organelles present in the majority of eukaryotic cells. Despite the existence of great diversity among different species, cell types, and under different environmental conditions, peroxisomes contain enzymes involved in β-oxidation of fatty acids and the generation, as well as detoxification, of hydrogen peroxide. The exigency of all eukaryotic cells to quickly adapt to different environmental factors requires the ability to precisely and efficiently control peroxisome number and functionality. Peroxisome homeostasis is achieved by the counterbalance between organelle biogenesis and degradation. The selective degradation of superfluous or damaged peroxisomes is facilitated by several tightly regulated pathways. The most prominent peroxisome degradation system uses components of the general autophagy core machinery and is therefore referred to as “pexophagy.” In this paper we focus on recent developments in pexophagy and provide an overview of current knowledge and future challenges in the field. We compare different modes of pexophagy and mention shared and distinct features of pexophagy in yeast model systems, mammalian cells, and other organisms.
PMCID: PMC3320016  PMID: 22536249
17.  An inventory of peroxisomal proteins and pathways in Drosophila melanogaster 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2012;13(10):1378-1392.
Peroxisomes are ubiquitous organelles housing a variety of essential biochemical pathways. Peroxisome dysfunction causes a spectrum of human diseases known as peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBD). While much is known regarding the mechanism of peroxisome biogenesis, it is still unclear how peroxisome dysfunction leads to the disease state. Several recent studies have shown that mutations in Drosophila peroxin genes cause phenotypes similar to those seen in humans with PBDs suggesting that Drosophila might be a useful system to model PBDs. We have analyzed the proteome of Drosophila to identify the proteins involved in peroxisomal biogenesis and homeostasis as well as metabolic enzymes that function within the organelle. The subcellular localization of five of these predicted peroxisomal proteins was confirmed. Similar to C. elegans, Drosophila appears to only utilize the peroxisome targeting signal (PTS) type 1 system for matrix protein import. This work will further our understanding of peroxisomes in Drosophila and add to the usefulness of this emerging model system.
PMCID: PMC3443258  PMID: 22758915
peroxisomes; drosophila; β-oxidation; α-oxidation; ether lipids
18.  How Peroxisomes Affect Aflatoxin Biosynthesis in Aspergillus Flavus 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(10):e48097.
In filamentous fungi, peroxisomes are crucial for the primary metabolism and play a pivotal role in the formation of some secondary metabolites. Further, peroxisomes are important site for fatty acids β-oxidation, the formation of reactive oxygen species and for their scavenging through a complex of antioxidant activities. Oxidative stress is involved in different metabolic events in all organisms and it occurs during oxidative processes within the cell, including peroxisomal β-oxidation of fatty acids. In Aspergillus flavus, an unbalance towards an hyper-oxidant status into the cell is a prerequisite for the onset of aflatoxin biosynthesis. In our preliminary results, the use of bezafibrate, inducer of both peroxisomal β-oxidation and peroxisome proliferation in mammals, significantly enhanced the expression of pex11 and foxA and stimulated aflatoxin synthesis in A. flavus. This suggests the existence of a correlation among peroxisome proliferation, fatty acids β-oxidation and aflatoxin biosynthesis. To investigate this correlation, A. flavus was transformed with a vector containing P33, a gene from Cymbidium ringspot virus able to induce peroxisome proliferation, under the control of the promoter of the Cu,Zn-sod gene of A. flavus. This transcriptional control closely relates the onset of the antioxidant response to ROS increase, with the proliferation of peroxisomes in A. flavus. The AfP33 transformant strain show an up-regulation of lipid metabolism and an higher content of both intracellular ROS and some oxylipins. The combined presence of a higher amount of substrates (fatty acids-derived), an hyper-oxidant cell environment and of hormone-like signals (oxylipins) enhances the synthesis of aflatoxins in the AfP33 strain. The results obtained demonstrated a close link between peroxisome metabolism and aflatoxin synthesis.
PMCID: PMC3477134  PMID: 23094106
19.  Targeted Deletion of the PEX2 Peroxisome Assembly Gene in Mice Provides a Model for Zellweger Syndrome, a Human Neuronal Migration Disorder  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1997;139(5):1293-1305.
Zellweger syndrome is a peroxisomal biogenesis disorder that results in abnormal neuronal migration in the central nervous system and severe neurologic dysfunction. The pathogenesis of the multiple severe anomalies associated with the disorders of peroxisome biogenesis remains unknown. To study the relationship between lack of peroxisomal function and organ dysfunction, the PEX2 peroxisome assembly gene (formerly peroxisome assembly factor-1) was disrupted by gene targeting.
Homozygous PEX2-deficient mice survive in utero but die several hours after birth. The mutant animals do not feed and are hypoactive and markedly hypotonic. The PEX2-deficient mice lack normal peroxisomes but do assemble empty peroxisome membrane ghosts. They display abnormal peroxisomal biochemical parameters, including accumulations of very long chain fatty acids in plasma and deficient erythrocyte plasmalogens. Abnormal lipid storage is evident in the adrenal cortex, with characteristic lamellar–lipid inclusions. In the central nervous system of newborn mutant mice there is disordered lamination in the cerebral cortex and an increased cell density in the underlying white matter, indicating an abnormality of neuronal migration. These findings demonstrate that mice with a PEX2 gene deletion have a peroxisomal disorder and provide an important model to study the role of peroxisomal function in the pathogenesis of this human disease.
PMCID: PMC2140200  PMID: 9382874
20.  Peroxisome Metabolism and Cellular Aging 
Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark)  2010;12(3):252-259.
The essential role of peroxisomes in fatty acid oxidation, anaplerotic metabolism, and hydrogen peroxide turnover is well established. Recent findings suggest these and other related biochemical processes governed by the organelle may also play a critical role in regulating cellular aging. The goal of this review is to summarize and integrate into a model, the evidence that peroxisome metabolism actually helps define the replicative and chronological age of a eukaryotic cell. In this model, peroxisomal reactive oxygen species (ROS) are seen as altering organelle biogenesis and function, and eliciting changes in the dynamic communication networks that exist between peroxisomes and other cellular compartments. At low levels, peroxisomal ROS activate an anti-aging program in the cell; at concentrations beyond a specific threshold, a pro-aging course is triggered.
PMCID: PMC3077116  PMID: 21083858
cellular aging; peroxisome; organelle biogenesis and function; longevity; fatty acid oxidation; anaplerotic metabolism; cell death; signal transduction; reactive oxygen species; hormesis; mitochondrial retrograde signaling; protein degradation
21.  Ultrastructural and cytochemical demonstration of peroxisomes in cultured fibroblasts from patients with peroxisomal deficiency disorders 
The Journal of Cell Biology  1985;100(5):1789-1792.
The oxidation of very long chain fatty acids and synthesis of ether glycerolipids (plasmalogens) occurs mainly in peroxisomes. Zellweger's cerebrohepatorenal syndrome (CHRS) is a rare, inherited metabolic disease characterized by an apparent absence of peroxisomes, an accumulation of very long chain fatty acids, and a decrease of plasmalogens in tissues and cultured fibroblasts from these patients. As peroxisomes are ubiquitous in mammalian cells, we examined normal and CHRS-cultured fibroblasts for their presence, using an electron microscopic histochemical procedure for the subcellular localization of catalase, a peroxisomal marker enzyme. Small (0.08-0.20 micron) round or slightly oval peroxisomes were seen in both normal and CHRS fibroblasts. The number of peroxisomes was analyzed morphometrically and found to be significantly reduced in all CHRS cell lines. These results are discussed in relation to the underlying defect in peroxisomal function and biogenesis in this disease.
PMCID: PMC2113858  PMID: 3988808
22.  Tysnd1 Deficiency in Mice Interferes with the Peroxisomal Localization of PTS2 Enzymes, Causing Lipid Metabolic Abnormalities and Male Infertility 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(2):e1003286.
Peroxisomes are subcellular organelles involved in lipid metabolic processes, including those of very-long-chain fatty acids and branched-chain fatty acids, among others. Peroxisome matrix proteins are synthesized in the cytoplasm. Targeting signals (PTS or peroxisomal targeting signal) at the C-terminus (PTS1) or N-terminus (PTS2) of peroxisomal matrix proteins mediate their import into the organelle. In the case of PTS2-containing proteins, the PTS2 signal is cleaved from the protein when transported into peroxisomes. The functional mechanism of PTS2 processing, however, is poorly understood. Previously we identified Tysnd1 (Trypsin domain containing 1) and biochemically characterized it as a peroxisomal cysteine endopeptidase that directly processes PTS2-containing prethiolase Acaa1 and PTS1-containing Acox1, Hsd17b4, and ScpX. The latter three enzymes are crucial components of the very-long-chain fatty acids β-oxidation pathway. To clarify the in vivo functions and physiological role of Tysnd1, we analyzed the phenotype of Tysnd1−/− mice. Male Tysnd1−/− mice are infertile, and the epididymal sperms lack the acrosomal cap. These phenotypic features are most likely the result of changes in the molecular species composition of choline and ethanolamine plasmalogens. Tysnd1−/− mice also developed liver dysfunctions when the phytanic acid precursor phytol was orally administered. Phyh and Agps are known PTS2-containing proteins, but were identified as novel Tysnd1 substrates. Loss of Tysnd1 interferes with the peroxisomal localization of Acaa1, Phyh, and Agps, which might cause the mild Zellweger syndrome spectrum-resembling phenotypes. Our data established that peroxisomal processing protease Tysnd1 is necessary to mediate the physiological functions of PTS2-containing substrates.
Author Summary
Peroxisomes are subcellular organelles that are present in almost all eukaryotic cells. The syllables “per-oxi” reflect the oxidative functions of these single-membrane-bound organelles in various metabolic processes, including those of very-long-chain fatty acids and branched-chain fatty acids. In an earlier study we identified a protease named Tysnd1 that is specifically located in the peroxisomes and processes the enzymes catalyzing the peroxisomal β-oxidation of very-long-chain fatty acids. In this study, we identified two novel Tysnd1 substrates, Agps and Phyh, which are involved in plasmalogen synthesis and phytanic acid metabolism, respectively. To further investigate the in vivo function of Tysnd1, we analyzed Tysnd1 knock-out mice. Mice that lack Tysnd1 showed reduced peroxisomal β-oxidation activity and an altered plasmalogen composition, as well as an abnormal phytanic acid metabolism. Male infertility is one of the major phenotypic manifestations of Tysnd1 deficiency. Our data support the idea that Tysnd1 affects the localization and activity of some of its substrates inside peroxisomes. Altogether, our Tysnd1-deficient mouse model expands the current peroxisome biology knowledge with regard to the molecular pathogenic mechanisms that may be relevant to some patients with Zellweger syndrome spectrum disorders.
PMCID: PMC3573110  PMID: 23459139
23.  Peroxisomes and Disease - An Overview 
Peroxisomes are indispensable for human health and development. They represent ubiquitous subcellular organelles which compartmentalize enzymes responsible for several crucial metabolic processes such as β-oxidation of specific fatty acids, biosynthesis of ether phospholipids and metabolism of reactive oxygen species. Peroxisomes are highly flexible organelles that rapidly assemble, multiply and degrade in response to metabolic needs. Basic research on the biogenesis of peroxisomes and their metabolic functions have improved our knowledge about their crucial role in several inherited disorders and in other pathophysiological conditions. The goal of this review is to give a comprehensive overview of the role of peroxisomes in disease. Besides the genetic peroxisomal disorders in humans, the role of peroxisomes in carcinogenesis and in situations related to oxidative stress such as inflammation, ischemia-reperfusion, and diabetes will be addressed.
PMCID: PMC3614646  PMID: 23674998
carcinogenesis; fatty acid oxidation; genetic diseases; organelle biogenesis; peroxisome proliferation; reactive oxygen species
24.  PEX11α Is Required for Peroxisome Proliferation in Response to 4-Phenylbutyrate but Is Dispensable for Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Alpha-Mediated Peroxisome Proliferation 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(23):8226-8240.
The PEX11 peroxisomal membrane proteins promote peroxisome division in multiple eukaryotes. As part of our effort to understand the molecular and physiological functions of PEX11 proteins, we disrupted the mouse PEX11α gene. Overexpression of PEX11α is sufficient to promote peroxisome division, and a class of chemicals known as peroxisome proliferating agents (PPAs) induce the expression of PEX11α and promote peroxisome division. These observations led to the hypothesis that PPAs induce peroxisome abundance by enhancing PEX11α expression. The phenotypes of PEX11α−/− mice indicate that this hypothesis remains valid for a novel class of PPAs that act independently of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) but is not valid for the classical PPAs that act as activators of PPARα. Furthermore, we find that PEX11α−/− mice have normal peroxisome abundance and that cells lacking both PEX11α and PEX11β, a second mammalian PEX11 gene, have no greater defect in peroxisome abundance than do cells lacking only PEX11β. Finally, we report the identification of a third mammalian PEX11 gene, PEX11γ, and show that it too encodes a peroxisomal protein.
PMCID: PMC134051  PMID: 12417726
25.  A critical reflection on the principles of peroxisome formation in yeast 
We have evaluated the current knowledge on peroxisome proliferation in yeast. In wild-type cells, peroxisomes multiply predominantly by fission at conditions that require peroxisome function(s) for growth. In cells that lack peroxisomes, for instance in pex3 and pex19 mutants or in mutants that display inheritance defects, peroxisomes may form de novo. We propose a novel machinery for the de novo formation of peroxisomes in pex3 cells, in which new peroxisomes do not arise from the endoplasmic reticulum. This machinery is based on the recent observation that membrane vesicles are present in pex3 cells that display peroxisomal characteristics in that they contain specific peroxisomal membrane and matrix proteins. These structures are the source for newly formed peroxisomes upon reintroduction of Pex3. Furthermore, we critically evaluate the principles of sorting of other peroxisomal membrane proteins to their target organelle and the function of the endoplasmic reticulum therein.
PMCID: PMC3960572
peroxisome; fission; endoplasmic reticulum; de novo peroxisome formation; yeast

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