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J Biol Chem. 2005 Oct 7;280(40):34350-7. Epub 2005 Aug 12.

Endoplasmic reticulum-directed Pex3p routes to peroxisomes and restores peroxisome formation in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae pex3Delta strain.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry, Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 15, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Recent studies on the sorting of peroxisomal membrane proteins challenge the long-standing model in which peroxisomes are considered to be autonomous organelles that multiply by growth and division. Here, we present data lending support to the idea that the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is involved in sorting of the peroxisomal membrane protein Pex3p, a protein required early in peroxisome biogenesis. First, we show that the introduction of an artificial glycosylation site into the N terminus of Pex3p leads to partial N-linked core glycosylation, indicative of insertion into the ER membrane. Second, when FLAG-tagged Pex3p is equipped with an ER targeting signal, it can restore peroxisome formation in pex3Delta cells. Importantly, FLAG antibodies that specifically recognize the processed Pex3p show that the signal peptide of the fusion protein is efficiently cleaved off and that the processed protein localizes to peroxisomes. In contrast, a Pex3p construct in which cleavage of the signal peptide is blocked by a mutation localizes to the ER and the cytosol and cannot complement pex3Delta cells. Together, these results strongly suggest that ER-targeted Pex3p indeed routes via the ER to peroxisomes, and we hypothesize that this pathway is also used by endogenous Pex3p.

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