The peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBDs) are currently difficult-to-treat multiple-organ dysfunction disorders that result from the defective biogenesis of peroxisomes. Genes encoding Peroxins, which are required for peroxisome biogenesis or functions, are known causative genes of PBDs. The human peroxin genes PEX3 or PEX16 are required for peroxisomal membrane protein targeting, and their mutations cause Zellweger syndrome, a class of PBDs. Lack of understanding about the pathogenesis of Zellweger syndrome has hindered the development of effective treatments. Here, we developed potential Drosophila models for Zellweger syndrome, in which the Drosophila pex3 or pex16 gene was disrupted. As found in Zellweger syndrome patients, peroxisomes were not observed in the homozygous Drosophila pex3 mutant, which was larval lethal. However, the pex16 homozygote lacking its maternal contribution was viable and still maintained a small number of peroxisome-like granules, even though PEX16 is essential for the biosynthesis of peroxisomes in humans. These results suggest that the requirements for pex3 and pex16 in peroxisome biosynthesis in Drosophila are different, and the role of PEX16 orthologs may have diverged between mammals and Drosophila. The phenotypes of our Zellweger syndrome model flies, such as larval lethality in pex3, and reduced size, shortened longevity, locomotion defects, and abnormal lipid metabolisms in pex16, were reminiscent of symptoms of this disorder, although the Drosophila pex16 mutant does not recapitulate the infant death of Zellweger syndrome. Furthermore, pex16 mutants showed male-specific sterility that resulted from the arrest of spermatocyte maturation. pex16 expressed in somatic cyst cells but not germline cells had an essential role in the maturation of male germline cells, suggesting that peroxisome-dependent signals in somatic cyst cells could contribute to the progression of male germ-cell maturation. These potential Drosophila models for Zellweger syndrome should contribute to our understanding of its pathology.
Peroxisomal matrix protein import requires PEX12, an integral peroxisomal membrane protein with a zinc ring domain at its carboxy terminus. Mutations in human PEX12 result in Zellweger syndrome, a lethal neurological disorder, and implicate the zinc ring domain in PEX12 function. Using two-hybrid studies, blot overlay assays, and coimmunoprecipitation experiments, we observed that the zinc-binding domain of PEX12 binds both PEX5, the PTS1 receptor, and PEX10, another integral peroxisomal membrane protein required for peroxisomal matrix protein import. Furthermore, we identified a patient with a missense mutation in the PEX12 zinc-binding domain, S320F, and observed that this mutation reduces the binding of PEX12 to PEX5 and PEX10. Overexpression of either PEX5 or PEX10 can suppress this PEX12 mutation, providing genetic evidence that these interactions are biologically relevant. PEX5 is a predominantly cytoplasmic protein and previous PEX5-binding proteins have been implicated in docking PEX5 to the peroxisome surface. However, we find that loss of PEX12 or PEX10 does not reduce the association of PEX5 with peroxisomes, demonstrating that these peroxins are not required for receptor docking. These and other results lead us to propose that PEX12 and PEX10 play direct roles in peroxisomal matrix protein import downstream of the receptor docking event.
PTS1 receptor; PEX5; PEX10; Zellweger syndrome; peroxisome biogenesis disorder
Zellweger syndrome is the archetypical peroxisome biogenesis disorder and is characterized by defective import of proteins into the peroxisome, leading to peroxisomal metabolic dysfunction and widespread tissue pathology. In humans, mutations in the PEX13 gene, which encodes a peroxisomal membrane protein necessary for peroxisomal protein import, can lead to a Zellweger phenotype. To develop mouse models for this disorder, we have generated a targeted mouse with a loxP-modified Pex13 gene to enable conditional Cre recombinase-mediated inactivation of Pex13. In the studies reported here, we crossed these mice with transgenic mice that express Cre recombinase in all cells to generate progeny with ubiquitous disruption of Pex13. The mutant pups exhibited many of the clinical features of Zellweger syndrome patients, including intrauterine growth retardation, severe hypotonia, failure to feed, and neonatal death. These animals lacked morphologically intact peroxisomes and showed deficient import of matrix proteins containing either type 1 or type 2 targeting signals. Biochemical analyses of tissue and cultured skin fibroblasts from these animals indicated severe impairment of peroxisomal fatty acid oxidation and plasmalogen synthesis. The brains of these animals showed disordered lamination in the cerebral cortex, consistent with a neuronal migration defect. Thus, Pex13−/− mice reproduce many of the features of Zellweger syndrome and PEX13 deficiency in humans.
Zellweger syndrome and related diseases are caused by defective import of peroxisomal matrix proteins. In all previously reported Zellweger syndrome cell lines the defect could be assigned to the matrix protein import pathway since peroxisome membranes were present, and import of integral peroxisomal membrane proteins was normal. However, we report here a Zellweger syndrome patient (PBD061) with an unusual cellular phenotype, an inability to import peroxisomal membrane proteins. We also identified human PEX16, a novel integral peroxisomal membrane protein, and found that PBD061 had inactivating mutations in the PEX16 gene. Previous studies have suggested that peroxisomes arise from preexisting peroxisomes but we find that expression of PEX16 restores the formation of new peroxisomes in PBD061 cells. Peroxisome synthesis and peroxisomal membrane protein import could be detected within 2–3 h of PEX16 injection and was followed by matrix protein import. These results demonstrate that peroxisomes do not necessarily arise from division of preexisting peroxisomes. We propose that peroxisomes may form by either of two pathways: one that involves PEX11-mediated division of preexisting peroxisomes, and another that involves PEX16-mediated formation of peroxisomes in the absence of preexisting peroxisomes.
membrane biogenesis; Zellweger syndrome; peroxisomal membrane protein import; PEX16; peroxisome biogenesis disorders
Peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBD) are a heterogeneous group of autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorders that affect multiple organ systems. Approximately 80% of PBD patients are classified in the Zellweger syndrome spectrum (PBD-ZSS). Mutations in the PEX1, PEX6, PEX10, PEX12, or PEX26 genes are found in approximately 90% of PBD-ZSS patients. Here, we sequenced the coding regions and splice junctions of these five genes in 58 PBD-ZSS cases previously subjected to targeted sequencing of a limited number of PEX gene exons. In our cohort, 71 unique sequence variants were identified, including 18 novel mutations predicted to disrupt protein function and 2 novel silent variants. We identified 4 patients who had two deleterious mutations in one PEX gene and a third deleterious mutation in a second PEX gene. For two such patients, we conducted cell fusion complementation analyses to identify the defective gene responsible for aberrant peroxisome assembly. Overall, we provide empirical data to estimate the relative fraction of disease-causing alleles that occur in the coding and splice junction sequences of these five PEX genes and the frequency of cases where mutations occur in multiple PEX genes. This information is beneficial for efforts aimed at establishing rapid and sensitive clinical diagnostics for PBD-ZSS patients and interpreting the results from these genetic tests.
peroxisome biogenesis disorders; Zellweger syndrome; PBD-ZSS; neonatal adrenoleukodystrophy; infantile Refsum disease; PEX1; PEX6; PEX10; PEX12
Zellweger syndrome is a lethal neurological disorder characterized by severe defects in peroxisomal protein import. The resulting defects in peroxisome metabolism and the accumulation of peroxisomal substrates are thought to cause the other Zellweger syndrome phenotypes, including neuronal migration defects, hypotonia, a developmental delay, and neonatal lethality. These phenotypes are also manifested in mouse models of Zellweger syndrome generated by disruption of the PEX5 or PEX2 gene. Here we show that mice lacking peroxisomal membrane protein PEX11β display several pathologic features shared by these mouse models of Zellweger syndrome, including neuronal migration defects, enhanced neuronal apoptosis, a developmental delay, hypotonia, and neonatal lethality. However, PEX11β deficiency differs significantly from Zellweger syndrome and Zellweger syndrome mice in that it is not characterized by a detectable defect in peroxisomal protein import and displays only mild defects in peroxisomal fatty acid β-oxidation and peroxisomal ether lipid biosynthesis. These results demonstrate that the neurological pathologic features of Zellweger syndrome can occur without peroxisomal enzyme mislocalization and challenge current models of Zellweger syndrome pathogenesis.
In humans, defects in peroxisome biogenesis are the cause of lethal diseases typified by Zellweger syndrome. Here, we show that inactivating mutations in human PEX3 cause Zellweger syndrome, abrogate peroxisome membrane synthesis, and result in reduced abundance of peroxisomal membrane proteins (PMPs) and/or mislocalization of PMPs to the mitochondria. Previous studies have suggested that PEX3 may traffic through the ER en route to the peroxisome, that the COPI inhibitor, brefeldin A, leads to accumulation of PEX3 in the ER, and that PEX3 overexpression alters the morphology of the ER. However, we were unable to detect PEX3 in the ER at early times after expression. Furthermore, we find that inhibition of COPI function by brefeldin A has no effect on trafficking of PEX3 to peroxisomes and does not inhibit PEX3-mediated peroxisome biogenesis. We also find that inhibition of COPII-dependent membrane traffic by a dominant negative SAR1 mutant fails to block PEX3 transport to peroxisomes and PEX3-mediated peroxisome synthesis. Based on these results, we propose that PEX3 targeting to peroxisomes and PEX3-mediated peroxisome membrane synthesis may occur independently of COPI- and COPII-dependent membrane traffic.
Zellweger syndrome; membrane biogenesis; protein import; vesicle traffic; peroxisome biogenesis disorders
Delayed cerebellar development is a hallmark of Zellweger syndrome (ZS), a severe neonatal neurodegenerative disorder. ZS is caused by mutations in PEX genes, such as PEX13, which encodes a protein required for import of proteins into the peroxisome. The molecular basis of ZS pathogenesis is not known. We have created a conditional mouse mutant with brain-restricted deficiency of PEX13 that exhibits cerebellar morphological defects. PEX13 brain mutants survive into the postnatal period, with the majority dying by 35 days, and with survival inversely related to litter size and weaning body weight. The impact on peroxisomal metabolism in the mutant brain is mixed: plasmalogen content is reduced, but very-long-chain fatty acids are normal. PEX13 brain mutants exhibit defects in reflex and motor development that correlate with impaired cerebellar fissure and cortical layer formation, granule cell migration and Purkinje cell layer development. Astrogliosis and microgliosis are prominent features of the mutant cerebellum. At the molecular level, cultured cerebellar neurons from E19 PEX13-null mice exhibit elevated levels of reactive oxygen species and mitochondrial superoxide dismutase-2 (MnSOD), and show enhanced apoptosis together with mitochondrial dysfunction. PEX13 brain mutants show increased levels of MnSOD in cerebellum. Our findings suggest that PEX13 deficiency leads to mitochondria-mediated oxidative stress, neuronal cell death and impairment of cerebellar development. Thus, PEX13-deficient mice provide a valuable animal model for investigating the molecular basis and treatment of ZS cerebellar pathology.
Mutations in PEX1 are the most common primary cause of Zellweger syndrome. In addition to exonic mutations, deletions and splice site mutations two 5' polymorphisms at c.-137 and c.-53 with a potential influence on PEX1 protein levels have been described in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of the PEX1 gene.
We used RACE and in silico promoter prediction analysis to study the 5' UTR of PEX1. We determined the distribution of PEX1 5' polymorphisms in a cohort of 30 Zellweger syndrome patients by standard DNA sequencing. 5' polymorphisms were analysed in relation to the two most common mutations in PEX1 and were incorporated into a novel genotype-phenotype analysis by correlation of three classes of PEX1 mutations with patient survival.
We provide evidence that the polymorphism 137 bp upstream of the ATG codon is not part of the UTR, rendering it a promoter polymorphism. We show that the first, but not the second most common PEX1 mutation arose independently of a specific upstream polymorphic constellation. By genotype-phenotype analysis we identified patients with identical exonic mutation and identical 5' polymorphisms, but strongly differing survival.
Our study suggests that two different types of PEX1 5' polymorphisms have to be distinguished: a 5' UTR polymorphism at position c.-53 and a promoter polymorphism 137 bp upstream of the PEX1 start codon. Our results indicate that the exonic PEX1 mutation correlates with patient survival, but the two 5' polymorphisms analysed in this study do not have to be considered for diagnostic and/or prognostic purposes.
We evaluated the major pathways of cholesterol regulation in the peroxisome-deficient PEX2−/− mouse, a model for Zellweger syndrome. Zellweger syndrome is a lethal inherited disorder characterized by severe defects in peroxisome biogenesis and peroxisomal protein import. Compared with wild-type mice, PEX2−/− mice have decreased total and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in plasma. Hepatic expression of the SREBP-2 gene is increased 2.5-fold in PEX2−/− mice and is associated with increased activities and increased protein and expression levels of SREBP-2-regulated cholesterol biosynthetic enzymes. However, the upregulated cholesterogenic enzymes appear to function with altered efficiency, associated with the loss of peroxisomal compartmentalization. The rate of cholesterol biosynthesis in 7- to 9-day-old PEX2−/− mice is markedly increased in most tissues, except in the brain and kidneys, where it is reduced. While the cholesterol content of most tissues is normal in PEX2−/− mice, in the knockout mouse liver it is decreased by 40% relative to that in control mice. The classic pathway of bile acid biosynthesis is downregulated in PEX2−/− mice. However, expression of CYP27A1, the rate-determining enzyme in the alternate pathway of bile acid synthesis, is upregulated threefold in the PEX2−/− mouse liver. The expression of hepatic ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters (ABCA1 and ABCG1) involved in cholesterol efflux is not affected in PEX2−/− mice. These data illustrate the diversity in cholesterol regulatory responses among different organs in postnatal peroxisome-deficient mice and demonstrate that peroxisomes are critical for maintaining cholesterol homeostasis in the neonatal mouse.
To expand the spectrum of genetic causes of autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia (ARCA).
Two brothers are described who developed progressive cerebellar ataxia at 3 1/2 and 18 years, respectively. After ruling out known common genetic causes of ARCA, analysis of blood peroxisomal markers strongly suggested a peroxisomal biogenesis disorder. Sequencing of candidate PEX genes revealed a homozygous c.865_866insA mutation in the PEX2 gene leading to a frameshift 17 codons upstream of the stop codon. PEX gene mutations usually result in a severe neurological phenotype (Zellweger spectrum disorders).
Genetic screening of PEX2 and other PEX genes involved in peroxisomal biogenesis is warranted in children and adults with ARCA.
Peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBD) comprise three phenotypes including Zellweger syndrome (ZS) (the most severe), neonatal adrenoleucodystrophy, and infantile Refsum disease (IRD) (the most mild), and can be classified into at least 12 genetic complementation groups, which are not predictive of the phenotypes. Several pathogenic genes for PBD groups have been identified, but the relationship between the defective gene products and phenotypic heterogeneity has remained unclear. We identified a mutation in the PEX2 gene in an IRD patient with compound heterozygosity for a missense mutation and the known nonsense mutation detected in ZS patients. In transfection experiments using the peroxisome deficient CHO mutant, Z65 with a nonsense mutation in the PEX2 gene, we noted the E55K mutation had mosaic activities of peroxisomal protein import machinery and residual activities of peroxisomal functions, including dihydroxyacetone phosphate acyltransferase and β oxidation of very long chain fatty acids. The nonsense mutation severely affects these peroxisomal functions as well as the protein import. These data suggest that allelic heterogeneity of the PEX gene affects the peroxisomal protein import and functions and regulates the clinical severity in PBD.
Keywords: Zellweger syndrome; infantile Refsum disease; PEX gene; mosaic
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.
Zellweger syndrome spectrum (ZSS) comprises a clinically and genetically heterogeneous disease entity, which is caused by mutations in any of the 12 different human PEX genes leading to impaired biogenesis of the peroxisome. Patients potentially suffering from ZSS are diagnosed biochemically by measuring elevated levels of very long chain fatty acids, pristanic acid and phytanic acid in plasma and serum and reduced levels of ether phospholipids in erythrocytes. Published reports on diagnostic procedures for ZSS patients are restricted either to biochemical markers or to defined mutations in a subset of PEX genes. Clarification of the primary genetic defect in an affected patient is crucial for genetic counselling, carrier testing or prenatal diagnosis. In this study, we present a rational diagnostic strategy for patients suspected of ZSS. By combining cell biology and molecular genetic methods in an appropriate sequence, we were able to detect the underlying mutation in various PEX genes within adequate time and cost. We applied this method on 90 patients who presented at our institute, Department of Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology at Georg August University, and detected 174 mutant alleles within six different PEX genes, including two novel deletions and three new missense mutations in PEX6. Furthermore, this strategy will extend our knowledge on genotype–phenotype correlation in various PEX genes. It will contribute to a better understanding of ZSS pathogenesis, allowing the investigation of the effects of diverse mutations on the interaction between PEX proteins and peroxisomal function in vivo.
Zellweger syndrome spectrum; peroxisome; diagnosis; PEX mutation
The gene products (peroxins) of at least 29 PEX genes are known to be
necessary for peroxisome biogenesis but for most of them their precise
function remains to be established. Here we show that Pex15p, an integral
peroxisomal membrane protein, in vivo and in vitro binds the AAA peroxin
Pex6p. This interaction functionally interconnects these two hitherto
unrelated peroxins. Pex15p provides the mechanistic basis for the reversible
targeting of Pex6p to peroxisomal membranes. We could demonstrate that the
N-terminal part of Pex6p contains the binding site for Pex15p and that the two
AAA cassettes D1 and D2 of Pex6p have opposite effects on this interaction. A
point mutation in the Walker A motif of D1 (K489A) decreased the binding of
Pex6p to Pex15p indicating that the interaction of Pex6p with Pex15p required
binding of ATP. Mutations in Walker A (K778A) and B (D831Q) motifs of D2
abolished growth on oleate and led to a considerable larger fraction of
peroxisome bound Pex6p. The nature of these mutations suggested that
ATP-hydrolysis is required to disconnect Pex6p from Pex15p. On the basis of
these results, we propose that Pex6p exerts at least part of its function by
an ATP-dependent cycle of recruitment and release to and from Pex15p.
Objective: To analyse the PEX1 gene, the most common cause for peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBD), in a consecutive series of patients with Zellweger spectrum.
Methods: Mutations were detected by different methods including SSCP analyses as a screening technique on the basis of genomic or cDNA, followed by direct sequencing of PCR fragments with an abnormal electrophoresis pattern.
Results: 33 patients were studied. Two common mutations, c.2528G→A, G843D and c.2098_2098insT, I700YfsX42, accounted for over 80% of all abnormal PEX1 alleles, emphasising their diagnostic relevance. Most PEX1 mutations were distributed over the two AAA cassettes with the two functional protein domains, D1 and D2, and the highly conserved Walker motifs. Phenotypic severity of Zellweger spectrum in CG1 depended on the effect of the mutation on the PEX1 protein, peroxin 1. PEX1 mutations could be divided into two classes of genotype–phenotype correlation: class I mutations led to residual PEX1 protein levels and function and a milder phenotype; class II mutations almost abolished PEX1 protein levels and function, resulting in a severe phenotype. Compound heterozygote patients for a class I and class II mutation had an intermediate phenotype.
Conclusions: Molecular confirmation of the clinical and biochemical diagnosis will allow the prediction of the clinical course of disease in individual PBD cases.
We have identified and characterized mutants of the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica that are deficient in protein secretion, in the ability to undergo dimorphic transition from the yeast to the mycelial form, and in peroxisome biogenesis. Mutations in the SEC238, SRP54, PEX1, PEX2, PEX6, and PEX9 genes affect protein secretion, prevent the exit of the precursor form of alkaline extracellular protease from the endoplasmic reticulum, and compromise peroxisome biogenesis. The mutants sec238A, srp54KO, pex2KO, pex6KO, and pex9KO are also deficient in the dimorphic transition from the yeast to the mycelial form and are affected in the export of only plasma membrane and cell wall-associated proteins specific for the mycelial form. Mutations in the SEC238, SRP54, PEX1, and PEX6 genes prevent or significantly delay the exit of two peroxisomal membrane proteins, Pex2p and Pex16p, from the endoplasmic reticulum en route to the peroxisomal membrane. Mutations in the PEX5, PEX16, and PEX17 genes, which have previously been shown to be essential for peroxisome biogenesis, affect the export of plasma membrane and cell wall-associated proteins specific for the mycelial form but do not impair exit from the endoplasmic reticulum of either Pex2p and Pex16p or of proteins destined for secretion. Biochemical analyses of these mutants provide evidence for the existence of four distinct secretory pathways that serve to deliver proteins for secretion, plasma membrane and cell wall synthesis during yeast and mycelial modes of growth, and peroxisome biogenesis. At least two of these secretory pathways, which are involved in the export of proteins to the external medium and in the delivery of proteins for assembly of the peroxisomal membrane, diverge at the level of the endoplasmic reticulum.
Peroxisomes are independent organelles found in virtually all eukaryotic cells. Genetic studies have identified more than 20 PEX genes that are required for peroxisome biogenesis. The role of most PEX gene products, peroxins, remains to be determined, but a variety of studies have established that Pex5p binds the type 1 peroxisomal targeting signal and is the import receptor for most newly synthesized peroxisomal matrix proteins. The steady-state abundance of Pex5p is unaffected in most pex mutants of the yeast Pichia pastoris but is severely reduced in pex4 and pex22 mutants and moderately reduced in pex1 and pex6 mutants. We used these subphenotypes to determine the epistatic relationships among several groups of pex mutants. Our results demonstrate that Pex4p acts after the peroxisome membrane synthesis factor Pex3p, the Pex5p docking factors Pex13p and Pex14p, the matrix protein import factors Pex8p, Pex10p, and Pex12p, and two other peroxins, Pex2p and Pex17p. Pex22p and the interacting AAA ATPases Pex1p and Pex6p were also found to act after Pex10p. Furthermore, Pex1p and Pex6p were found to act upstream of Pex4p and Pex22p. These results suggest that Pex1p, Pex4p, Pex6p, and Pex22p act late in peroxisomal matrix protein import, after matrix protein translocation. This hypothesis is supported by the phenotypes of the corresponding mutant strains. As has been shown previously for P. pastoris pex1, pex6, and pex22 mutant cells, we show here that pex4Δ mutant cells contain peroxisomal membrane protein-containing peroxisomes that import residual amounts of peroxisomal matrix proteins.
The peroxisomal docking complex is a key component of the import machinery for matrix proteins. The core protein of this complex, Pex14, is thought to represent the initial docking site for the import receptors Pex5 and Pex7. Associated with this complex is a fraction of Pex13, another essential component of the import machinery. Here we demonstrate that Pex13 directly binds Pex14 not only via its SH3 domain but also via a novel intraperoxisomal site. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Pex5 also contributes to the association of Pex13 with Pex14. Peroxisome function was affected only mildly by mutations within the novel Pex14 interaction site of Pex13 or by the non-Pex13-interacting mutant Pex5W204A. However, when these constructs were tested in combination, PTS1-dependent import and growth on oleic acid were severely compromised. When the SH3 domain-mediated interaction of Pex13 with Pex14 was blocked on top of that, PTS2-dependent matrix protein import was completely compromised and Pex13 was no longer copurified with the docking complex. We conclude that the association of Pex13 with Pex14 is an essential step in peroxisomal protein import that is enabled by two direct interactions and by one that is mediated by Pex5, a result which indicates a novel, receptor-independent function of Pex5.
The function of the peroxisomes was examined in the pathogenic basidiomycete Cryptococcus neoformans. Recent studies reveal the glyoxylate pathway is required for virulence of diverse microbial pathogens of plants and animals. One exception is C. neoformans, in which isocitrate lyase (encoded by ICL1) was previously shown not to be required for virulence, and here this was extended to exclude also a role for malate synthase (encoded by MLS1). The role of peroxisomes, in which the glyoxylate pathway enzymes are localized in many organisms, was examined by mutation of two genes (PEX1 and PEX6) encoding AAA (ATPases associated with various cellular activities)-type proteins required for peroxisome formation. The pex1 and pex6 deletion mutants were unable to localize the fluorescent DsRED-SKL protein to peroxisomal punctate structures, in contrast to wild-type cells. pex1 and pex6 single mutants and a pex1 pex6 double mutant exhibit identical phenotypes, including abolished growth on fatty acids but no growth difference on acetate. Because both icl1 and mls1 mutants are unable to grow on acetate as the sole carbon source, these findings demonstrate that the glyoxylate pathway can function efficiently outside the peroxisome in C. neoformans. The pex1 mutant exhibits wild-type virulence in a murine inhalation model and in an insect host, demonstrating that peroxisomes are not required for virulence under these conditions. An unusual phenotype of the pex1 and pex6 mutants was that they grew poorly with glucose as the carbon source, but nearly wild type with galactose, which suggested impaired hexokinase function and that C. neoformans peroxisomes might function analogously to the glycosomes of the trypanosomid parasites. Deletion of the hexokinase HXK2 gene reduced growth in the presence of glucose and suppressed the growth defect of the pex1 mutant on glucose. The hexokinase 2 protein of C. neoformans contains a predicted peroxisome targeting signal (type 2) motif; however, Hxk2 fused to fluorescent proteins was not localized to peroxisomes. Thus, we hypothesize that glucose or glycolytic metabolites are utilized in the peroxisome by an as yet unidentified enzyme or regulate a pathway required by the fungus in the absence of peroxisomes.
alpha-Synuclein (αS) is a presynaptic protein implicated in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Growing evidence implicates mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and αS-lipids interactions in the gradual accumulation of αS in pathogenic forms and its deposition in Lewy bodies, the pathological hallmark of PD and related synucleinopathies. The peroxisomal biogenesis disorders (PBD), with Zellweger syndrome serving as the prototype of this group, are characterized by malformed and functionally impaired peroxisomes. Here we utilized the PBD mouse models, Pex2-/-, Pex5-/- and Pex13-/-, to study the potential effects of peroxisomal dysfunction on αS–related pathogenesis. We found increased αS oligomerization and phosphorylation and its increased deposition in cytoplasmic inclusions in these PBD mouse models. Further, we show that αS abnormalities correlate with the altered lipid metabolism and specifically, with accumulation of long chain, n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, that occurs in the PBD models.
Parkinson’s disease; lipids; alpha synuclein; peroxisomes
The role of peroxisomal processes in the maintenance of neurons has not been thoroughly investigated. We propose using Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism for studying the molecular basis underlying neurodegeneration in certain human peroxisomal disorders, e.g. Zellweger syndrome, since the nematode neural network is well characterized and relatively simple in function. Here we have identified C. elegans PEX-5 (C34C6.6) representing the receptor for peroxisomal targeting signal type 1 (PTS1), defective in patients with such disorders. PEX-5 interacted strongly in a two-hybrid assay with Gal4p–SKL, and a screen using PEX-5 identified interaction partners that were predominantly terminated with PTS1 or its variants. A list of C. elegans proteins with similarities to well-characterized yeast β-oxidation enzymes was compiled by homology probing. The possible subcellular localization of these orthologues was predicted using an algorithm based on trafficking signals. Examining the C termini of selected nematode proteins for PTS1 function substantiated predictions made regarding the proteins' peroxisomal location. It is concluded that the eukaryotic PEX5-dependent route for importing PTS1-containing proteins into peroxisomes is conserved in nematodes. C. elegans might emerge as an attractive model system for studying the importance of peroxisomes and affiliated processes in neurodegeneration, and also for studying a β-oxidation process that is potentially compartmentalized in both mitochondria and peroxisomes.
Pex mutants of the yeast Yarrowia lipolytica are defective in peroxisome assembly. The mutant strain pex16-1 lacks morphologically recognizable peroxisomes. Most peroxisomal proteins are mislocalized to a subcellular fraction enriched for cytosol in pex16 strains, but a subset of peroxisomal proteins is localized at, or near, wild-type levels to a fraction typically enriched for peroxisomes. The PEX16 gene was isolated by functional complementation of the pex16-1 strain and encodes a protein, Pex16p, of 391 amino acids (44,479 D). Pex16p has no known homologues. Pex16p is a peripheral protein located at the matrix face of the peroxisomal membrane. Substitution of the carboxylterminal tripeptide Ser-Thr-Leu, which is similar to the consensus sequence of peroxisomal targeting signal 1, does not affect targeting of Pex16p to peroxisomes. Pex16p is synthesized in wild-type cells grown in glucose-containing media, and its levels are modestly increased by growth of cells in oleic acid–containing medium. Overexpression of the PEX16 gene in oleic acid– grown Y. lipolytica leads to the appearance of a small number of enlarged peroxisomes, which contain the normal complement of peroxisomal proteins at levels approaching those of wild-type peroxisomes.
A number of peroxisome-associated proteins have been described that
are involved in the import of proteins into peroxisomes, among which is
the receptor for peroxisomal targeting signal 1 (PTS1) proteins
Pex5p, the integral membrane protein Pex13p, which contains an Src
homology 3 (SH3) domain, and the peripheral membrane protein Pex14p. In
the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, both Pex5p and
Pex14p are able to bind Pex13p via its SH3 domain. Pex14p contains the
classical SH3 binding motif PXXP, whereas this sequence is absent in
Pex5p. Mutation of the conserved tryptophan in the PXXP binding pocket
of Pex13-SH3 abolished interaction with Pex14p, but did not affect
interaction with Pex5p, suggesting that Pex14p is the classical SH3
domain ligand and that Pex5p binds the SH3 domain in an alternative
way. To identify the SH3 binding site in Pex5p, we screened a randomly
mutagenized PEX5 library for loss of interaction with
Pex13-SH3. Such mutations were all located in a small region in the
N-terminal half of Pex5p. One of the altered residues (F208) was part
of the sequence W204XXQF208, that is conserved
between Pex5 proteins of different species. Site-directed mutagenesis
of Trp204 confirmed the essential role of this motif in recognition of
the SH3 domain. The Pex5p mutants could only partially restore
PTS1-protein import in pex5Δ cells in vivo. In vitro
binding studies showed that these Pex5p mutants failed to interact with
Pex13-SH3 in the absence of Pex14p, but regained their ability to bind
in the presence of Pex14p, suggesting the formation of a heterotrimeric
complex consisting of Pex5p, Pex14p, and Pex13-SH3. In vivo, these
Pex5p mutants, like wild-type Pex5p, were still found to be associated
with peroxisomes. Taken together, this indicates that in the absence of
Pex13-SH3 interaction, other protein(s) is able to bind Pex5p at the
peroxisome; Pex14p is a likely candidate for this function.
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.