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J Neurochem. 1996 Dec;67(6):2373-8.

Abnormality in translational regulation of catalase expression in disorders of peroxisomal biogenesis.

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Department of Pediatrics, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston 29425, USA.


Peroxisomal disorders are a newly described group of inherited neurological diseases. In disorders of peroxisomal biogenesis, e.g., Zellweger syndrome, owing to the lack of peroxisomes, catalase, a peroxisomal enzyme, is found to be present in the cytoplasm instead. We observed higher catalase activity (7.59 +/- 0.41 mU/ mg of protein) in cultured skin fibroblasts from Zellweger patients than in control fibroblasts (4.45 +/- 0.29 mU/mg of protein). Moreover, we also found that the majority of the catalase in Zellweger cells was present in the inactive form. The specific activities following reactivation in Zellweger and control cells were 12.1 and 4.9 mU/mg of protein, respectively. To understand the molecular basis of higher levels of catalase in Zellweger than control cells, we examined the rate of synthesis and turnover of catalase and levels of catalase mRNA and protein levels in Zellweger cells as compared with control cells. The initial rates of synthesis of catalase in Zellweger (1.68 +/- 0.15 mU/mg of protein) and control (1.51 +/- 0.14 mU/mg of protein) cells were similar. The rates of turnover of catalase in Zellweger (t1/2 = 47 +/- 8 h) and control (t1/2 = 49 +/- 7 h) were also similar. Consistent with the enzyme activity, the levels of catalase protein were higher in Zellweger cells as compared with control cells. On the other hand, there was no difference in the level of catalase mRNA between control and Zellweger cells. Although the rate of synthesis in Zellweger and control cells was initially similar, it was down-regulated to a lower level at approximately 72 h of culture in control fibroblasts as compared with Zellweger cells, which continued to synthesize catalase at the same rate up to 5 days in culture. The presence of similar levels of mRNA in control and Zellweger cells and continued synthesis of catalase in Zellweger cells at a higher level as compared with control cells suggest a loss of regulation at the translational level.

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