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Biological Chemistry

Editor-in-Chief: Brüne, Bernhard

Editorial Board Member: Buchner, Johannes / Ludwig, Stephan / Sies, Helmut / Turk, Boris / Wittinghofer, Alfred

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The Structural Properties of Plant Peroxisomes and Their Metabolic Significance

S. Reumann

Citation Information: Biological Chemistry. Volume 381, Issue 8, Pages 639–648, ISSN (Print) 1431-6730, DOI: 10.1515/BC.2000.084, July 2005

Publication History

Published Online:


Plant peroxisomes can be isolated by Percoll density gradient centrifugation at high purity and metabolic competence as well as in relatively large quantities. According to biochemical and electrophysiological analyses, plant peroxisomes have recently been shown to differ from other cell organelles in essential structural properties. Unlike mitochondria or plastids, compartmentalization of plant peroxisomal metabolism is in major parts not caused by a boundary function of the membrane but is primarily due to the specific structure of the protein matrix. The enzymes of the photorespiratory C2 cycle of leaf peroxisomes are arranged as multienzyme complexes that allow efficient metabolic channelling with high flux rates and minimum leakage of reactive oxygen species from the organelle. Transfer of metabolites, such as carboxylates, proceeds across the peroxisomal membrane via a porin-like channel, which represents a relatively unspecific but highly efficient transport system. Because all variants of peroxisomes, which all contain only a single boundary membrane, are confronted with the task of transporting a large group of metabolites while preventing the escape of reactive intermediates, it is reasonable to speculate that the unique compartmentalization feature of leaf peroxisomes also applies to peroxisomes from fungi and mammals.

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