The majority of peroxisomal matrix proteins destined for translocation into the peroxisomal lumen are recognised via a C-terminal Peroxisomal Target Signal type 1 by the cycling receptor Pex5p. The only structure to date of Pex5p in complex with a cargo protein is that of the C-terminal cargo-binding domain of the receptor with sterol carrier protein 2, a small, model peroxisomal protein. In this study, we have tested the contribution of a second, ancillary receptor-cargo binding site, which was found in addition to the characterised Peroxisomal Target Signal type 1.
To investigate the function of this secondary interface we have mutated two key residues from the ancillary binding site and analyzed the level of binding first by a yeast-two-hybrid assay, followed by quantitative measurement of the binding affinity and kinetics of purified protein components and finally, by in vivo measurements, to determine translocation capability. While a moderate but significant reduction of the interaction was found in binding assays, we were not able to measure any significant defects in vivo.
Our data therefore suggest that at least in the case of sterol carrier protein 2 the contribution of the second binding site is not essential for peroxisomal import. At this stage, however, we cannot rule out that other cargo proteins may require this ancillary binding site.