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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Filamentous fungi; Penicillin; Penicillium chrysogenum; Peroxisome; Secondary metabolism
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.
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.
high-content screening; high-content analysis; peroxisome biogenesis; diabetes; metabolic syndrome; 4-phenylbutyrate
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.
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.
microarray; clustering algorithms; peroxin; PEX25; PEX11
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.
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.
fatty acid consumption; inheritance assay; membrane elongation; membrane proteins; organelle biogenesis; peroxisomes; PEX11; PEX25; PEX27; proliferation
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.
peroxisome proliferation; clofibrate; wound-related signaling; arabidopsis
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.
Peroxisomes; Mitochondria; Organelle dynamics; Biogenesis; Organelle cross talk; Dynamin; Disease; Pexophagy; Fatty liver disease; Neuroinflammation
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.
peroxisomes; peroxins; fungi; sexual development; meiosis; organelle biogenesis; cell differentiation
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.
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.
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.
peroxisomes; drosophila; β-oxidation; α-oxidation; ether lipids
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.
VP16PPARα; LAP; carcinogenesis; hepatocytes; tet-off; doxycycline
Peroxisomes are ubiquitous eukaryotic organelles involved in various oxidative reactions. Their enzymatic content varies between species, but the presence of common protein import and organelle biogenesis systems support a single evolutionary origin. The precise scenario for this origin remains however to be established. The ability of peroxisomes to divide and import proteins post-translationally, just like mitochondria and chloroplasts, supports an endosymbiotic origin. However, this view has been challenged by recent discoveries that mutant, peroxisome-less cells restore peroxisomes upon introduction of the wild-type gene, and that peroxisomes are formed from the Endoplasmic Reticulum. The lack of a peroxisomal genome precludes the use of classical analyses, as those performed with mitochondria or chloroplasts, to settle the debate. We therefore conducted large-scale phylogenetic analyses of the yeast and rat peroxisomal proteomes.
Our results show that most peroxisomal proteins (39–58%) are of eukaryotic origin, comprising all proteins involved in organelle biogenesis or maintenance. A significant fraction (13–18%), consisting mainly of enzymes, has an alpha-proteobacterial origin and appears to be the result of the recruitment of proteins originally targeted to mitochondria. Consistent with the findings that peroxisomes are formed in the Endoplasmic Reticulum, we find that the most universally conserved Peroxisome biogenesis and maintenance proteins are homologous to proteins from the Endoplasmic Reticulum Assisted Decay pathway.
Altogether our results indicate that the peroxisome does not have an endosymbiotic origin and that its proteins were recruited from pools existing within the primitive eukaryote. Moreover the reconstruction of primitive peroxisomal proteomes suggests that ontogenetically as well as phylogenetically, peroxisomes stem from the Endoplasmic Reticulum.
This article was reviewed by Arcady Mushegian, Gáspár Jékely and John Logsdon
Open peer review
Reviewed by Arcady Mushegian, Gáspar Jékely and John Logsdon. For the full reviews, please go to the Reviewers' comments section.
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.
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
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.
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.
carcinogenesis; fatty acid oxidation; genetic diseases; organelle biogenesis; peroxisome proliferation; reactive oxygen species
We have developed a positive selection system for the isolation of Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants with disturbed peroxisomal functions. The selection is based on the lethality of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) that is produced in wild type cells during the peroxisomal beta- oxidation of fatty acids. In total, 17 mutants having a general impairment of peroxisome biogenesis were isolated, as revealed by their inability to grow on oleic acid as the sole carbon source and their aberrant cell fractionation pattern of peroxisomal enzymes. The mutants were shown to have monogenetic defects and to fall into 12 complementation groups. Representative members of each complementation group were morphologically examined by immunocytochemistry using EM. In one mutant the induction and morphology of peroxisomes is normal but import of thiolase is abrogated, while in another the morphology differs from the wild type: stacked peroxisomal membranes are present that are able to import thiolase but not catalase. These mutants suggest the existence of multiple components involved in peroxisomal protein import. Some mutants show the phenotype characteristic of glucose-repressed cells, an indication for the interruption of a signal transduction pathway resulting in organelle proliferation. In the remaining mutants morphologically detectable peroxisomes are absent: this phenotype is also known from fibroblasts of patients suffering from Zellweger syndrome, a disorder resulting from impairment of peroxisomes.
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.
The Woronin body, a unique organelle found in the Pezizomycotina, plugs the septal pore upon hyphal damage to prevent excessive cytoplasmic bleeding. Although it was previously shown that the Woronin body buds out from the peroxisome, the relationship between peroxisomal proliferation/division and Woronin body differentiation has not been extensively investigated. In this report, we examined whether Pex11 required for peroxisomal proliferation participates in Woronin body formation in Aspergillus oryzae. A. oryzae contained two orthologous PEX11 genes that were designated Aopex11-1 and Aopex11-2. Deletion of Aopex11 genes revealed that only the ΔAopex11-1 strain showed reduced growth and enlarged peroxisomes in the presence of oleic acid as a sole carbon source, indicating a defect in peroxisomal function and proliferation. Disruption of Aopex11-1 gene impaired the Woronin body function, leading to excessive loss of the cytosol upon hyphal injury. Dual localization analysis of the peroxisome and Woronin body protein AoHex1 demonstrated that Woronin bodies fail to fully differentiate from peroxisomes in the ΔAopex11-1 strain. Furthermore, distribution of AoHex1 was found to be peripheral in the enlarged peroxisome or junctional in dumbbell-shaped peroxisomes. Electron microscopy of the ΔAopex11-1 strain revealed the presence of Woronin bodies that remained associated with organelles resembling peroxisomes, which was supported from the sucrose gradient centrifugation confirming that the Woronin body protein AoHex1 overlapped with the density-shifted peroxisome in the ΔAopex11-1 strain. In conclusion, the present study describes the role of Pex11 in Woronin body differentiation for the first time.