The peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBDs), including Zellweger syndrome (ZS), neonatal adrenoleucodystrophy (NALD) and infantile Refsum disease (IRD), are fatal autosomal recessive diseases caused by impaired peroxisome biogenesis, of which 12 genotypes have been reported. ZS patients manifest the severest clinical and biochemical abnormalities, whereas those with NALD and IRD show less severity and the mildest features respectively. We have reported previously that temperature-sensitive peroxisome assembly is responsible for the mildness of the clinical features of IRD. PEX1 is the causative gene for PBDs of complementation group E (CG-E, CG1 in the U.S.A. and Europe), the PBDs of highest incidence, encoding the peroxin Pex1p of the AAA ATPase family. It has been also reported that Pex1p and Pex6p interact with each other. In the present study we investigated phenotype-genotype relationships of CG1 PBDs. Pex1p from IRD such as Pex1p with the most frequently identified mutation at G843D was largely degraded in vivo at 37 degrees C, whereas a normal level of Pex1p was detectable at the permissive temperature. In contrast, PEX1 proteins derived from ZS patients, including proteins with a mutation at L664P or the deletion of residues 634-690, were stably present at both temperatures. Pex1p-G843D interacted with Pex6p at approx. 50% of the level of normal Pex1p, whereas Pex1p from ZS patients mostly showing non-temperature-sensitive peroxisome biogenesis hardly bound to Pex6p. Taking these results together, we consider it most likely that the stability of Pex1p reflects temperature-sensitive peroxisome assembly in IRD fibroblasts. Failure in Pex1p-Pex6p interaction gives rise to more severe abnormalities, such as those manifested by patients with ZS.