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Front Physiol. 2013 Sep 26;4:268. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00268.

Emerging roles of mitochondria in the evolution, biogenesis, and function of peroxisomes.

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Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University Montreal, QC, Canada.


In the last century peroxisomes were thought to have an endosymbiotic origin. Along with mitochondria and chloroplasts, peroxisomes primarily regulate their numbers through the growth and division of pre-existing organelles, and they house specific machinery for protein import. These features were considered unique to endosymbiotic organelles, prompting the idea that peroxisomes were key cellular elements that helped facilitate the evolution of multicellular organisms. The functional similarities to mitochondria within mammalian systems expanded these ideas, as both organelles scavenge peroxide and reactive oxygen species, both organelles oxidize fatty acids, and at least in higher eukaryotes, the biogenesis of both organelles is controlled by common nuclear transcription factors of the PPAR family. Over the last decade it has been demonstrated that the fission machinery of both organelles is also shared, and that both organelles act as critical signaling platforms for innate immunity and other pathways. Taken together it is clear that the mitochondria and peroxisomes are functionally coupled, regulating cellular metabolism and signaling through a number of common mechanisms. However, recent work has focused primarily on the role of the ER in the biogenesis of peroxisomes, potentially overshadowing the critical importance of the mitochondria as a functional partner. In this review, we explore the mechanisms of functional coupling of the peroxisomes to the mitochondria/ER networks, providing some new perspectives on the potential contribution of the mitochondria to peroxisomal biogenesis.


biogenesis; contact site; evolution; mitochondria; peroxisome; vesicle transport

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