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Plant J. 2009 Jul;59(2):231-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2009.03863.x. Epub 2009 Mar 9.

Peroxule extension over ER-defined paths constitutes a rapid subcellular response to hydroxyl stress.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.


Plants survive against myriad environmental odds while remaining rooted to a single spot. The time scale over which plant cells can respond to environmental cues is seldom appreciated. Fluorescent protein-assisted live imaging of peroxisomes reveals that they respond within seconds of exposure to hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals by producing dynamic extensions called peroxules. Observations of the Arabidopsis flu mutant and treatments with xenobiotics eliciting singlet oxygen and superoxide reactive oxygen species suggest that the observed responses are specific for hydroxyl radicals. Prolonged exposure to hydroxyl radicals inhibits peroxule extension, and instead causes motile and spherical peroxisomes in a cell to become immotile and elongate several-fold. Expression of photo-convertible EosFP-PTS1 demonstrates that vermiform peroxisomes result from rapid stretching of individual peroxisomes, while the subsequent 'beads-on-a-string' morphology results from differential protein distribution within an elongated tubule. Over time, the beads in elongated peroxisomes also extend peroxules randomly before undergoing asynchronous, asymmetrical fission. Peroxule extension does not appear to involve cytoskeletal elements directly, but is closely aligned with and reflects the dynamics of ER tubules. Peroxisomal responses reveal a rapidly invoked subcellular machinery that is involved in recognition of hydroxyl stress thresholds, and its possible remediation locally through extension of peroxules or globally by increasing peroxisome numbers. A matrix protein retro-flow mechanism that supports peroxisome-ER connectivity in plant cells is suggested.

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