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Annu Rev Microbiol. 2012;66:237-63. doi: 10.1146/annurev-micro-092611-150126.

Peroxisome assembly and functional diversity in eukaryotic microorganisms.

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Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


Peroxisomes are core eukaryotic organelles that generally function in lipid metabolism and detoxification of reactive oxygen species, but they are increasingly associated with taxa-specific metabolic, cellular, and developmental functions. Here, we present a brief overview of peroxisome assembly, followed by a discussion of their functional diversification. Matrix protein import occurs through a remarkable translocon that can accommodate folded and even oligomeric proteins. Metabolically specialized peroxisomes include glycosomes of trypanosomes, which have come to compartmentalize most of the glycolytic pathway and play a role in developmental signal transduction. The differentiation of physically distinct subcompartments also contributes to peroxisome diversification; in the clade of filamentous ascomycetes, dense-core Woronin bodies bud from peroxisomes to gate cell-to-cell channels. Here, the import of oligomeric cargo is central to the mechanism of subcompartment specification. In general, the acquisition of a tripeptide peroxisome targeting signal by nonperoxisomal proteins appears to be a recurrent step in the evolution of peroxisome diversity.

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