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Plant Cell Physiol. 2011 Dec;52(12):2157-72. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcr147. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

A defect of peroxisomal membrane protein 38 causes enlargement of peroxisomes.

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Department of Cell Biology, National Institute for Basic Biology, Okazaki, 444-8585 Japan.


Peroxisome proliferation occurs through enlargement, elongation and division of pre-existing peroxisomes. In the Arabidopsis apem mutant, apem3, peroxisomes are dramatically enlarged and reduced in number, revealing a defect in peroxisome proliferation. The APEM3 gene was found to encode peroxisomal membrane protein 38 (PMP38). To examine the relative role of PMP38 during proliferation, a double mutant was constructed consisting of apem3 and the peroxisome division mutant, apem1, in which a defect in dynamin-related protein 3A (DRP3A) results in elongation of peroxisomes. In the double mutant, almost all peroxisomes were predominantly enlarged but not elongated. DRP3A is still able to localize at the peroxisomal membrane on enlarged peroxisomes in the apem3 mutants. PMP38 is revealed to be capable of interacting with itself, but not with DRP3A. These results indicate that PMP38 has a role at a different step that requires APEM1/DRP3A. PMP38 is expressed in various tissues throughout the plant, indicating that PMP38 may participate in multiple unidentified functions in these tissues. PMP38 belongs to a mitochondrial carrier family (MCF) protein. However, unlike Arabidopsis nucleotide carrier protein 1 (AtPNC1) and AtPNC2, two other peroxisome-resident MCF proteins that function as adenine nucleotide transporters, PMP38 has no ATP or ADP transport activity. In addition, unlike AtPNC1 and AtPNC2 knock-down plants, apem3 mutants do not exhibit any gross morphological abnormalities. These results demonstrate that APEM3/PMP38 plays a role distinct from that of AtPNC1 and AtPNC2. We discuss possible mechanism of enlargement of peroxisomes in the apem3 mutants.

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