Biogenesis and Evolutionary Origin of Peroxisomes

  • Fred R. Opperdoes
  • Paul A. M. Michels

Abstract

In 1965 de Duve coined the name peroxisome for the microbody-like organelles present in most eukaryotic cells. Microbodies, as a group, are quite heterogeneous and comprise a variety of organelles such as peroxisomes, glyoxysomes and glycosomes. They may have quite different functions within the eukaryotic cell (Lazarow and Fujiki, 1985; Huang et al, 1983; Opperdoes, 1987). Table 1 gives an overview of the principal metabolic pathways that have been found in microbodies. Despite such differences in function, it is now generally accepted that all these microbodies are members of one family of organelles. Morphologically, they have the same appearance. They are round or oval-shaped, but range in size from 0.2 to 1 micrometer. They are surrounded by a single membrane and have an electron-dense matrix, which sometimes contains a crystalloid inclusion (Fig. 1). They are found in almost all eukaryotic cells, such as protozoa, fungi, plants and animals. All microbodies have beta-oxidation as the common pathway. Peroxide metabolism, consisting of H202-producing oxidases and catalase, was originally thought to be the main characteristic of these organelles, since catalase is present in the microbodies of most organisms. However, this ’marker enzyme’ may as well be absent as has been described in the case of the Euglenoids (Muller, 1975), the Trypanosomatids (Opperdoes, 1987) and some fungi (Kunau et al., 1987). Glyoxysomes, typical for germinating plants contain, in addition to the above mentioned pathways, enzymes of the glyoxylate cycle. Glycosomes, the microbodies typical of the Kinetoplastida - flagellated protozoa that comprise the parasitic trypanosomes, responsible for a number of important diseases of mankind - are highly specialised in glycolysis and contain the first seven enzymes of the Embden-Meyerhof pathway as well as two enzymes of glycerol metabolism. The peroxisomes of methylotrophic fungi and the fungi that grow on alkanes, are highly specialised in the oxidation of methanol and fatty acids, respectively.

Keywords

Alkane Cytosol Catalase Candida Pyrimidine 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fred R. Opperdoes
    • 1
  • Paul A. M. Michels
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Unit for Tropical DiseasesInternational Institute of Cellular and Molecular PathologyBrusselsBelgium

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