Pexophagy: autophagic degradation of peroxisomes

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 Dec;1763(12):1767-75. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2006.08.023. Epub 2006 Aug 24.


The abundance of peroxisomes within a cell can rapidly decrease by selective autophagic degradation (also designated pexophagy). Studies in yeast species have shown that at least two modes of peroxisome degradation are employed, namely macropexophagy and micropexophagy. During macropexophagy, peroxisomes are individually sequestered by membranes, thus forming a pexophagosome. This structure fuses with the vacuolar membrane, resulting in exposure of the incorporated peroxisome to vacuolar hydrolases. During micropexophagy, a cluster of peroxisomes is enclosed by vacuolar membrane protrusions and/or segmented vacuoles as well as a newly formed membrane structure, the micropexophagy-specific membrane apparatus (MIPA), which mediates the enclosement of the vacuolar membrane. Subsequently, the engulfed peroxisome cluster is degraded. This review discusses the current state of knowledge of pexophagy with emphasis on studies on methylotrophic yeast species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy*
  • Membrane Fusion
  • Peroxisomes / physiology*
  • Pichia / physiology
  • Vacuoles / physiology
  • Yarrowia / physiology