Abnormality in catalase import into peroxisomes leads to severe neurological disorder

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Mar 17;95(6):2961-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.95.6.2961.


Peroxisomal disorders are lethal inherited diseases caused by either defects in peroxisome assembly or dysfunction of single or multiple enzymatic function(s). The peroxisomal matrix proteins are targeted to peroxisomes via the interaction of peroxisomal targeting signal sequences 1 and 2 (PTS1 or PTS2) with their respective cytosolic receptors. We have studied human skin fibroblast cell lines that have multiple peroxisomal dysfunctions with normal packaging of PTS1 and PTS2 signal-containing proteins but lack catalase in peroxisomes. To understand the defect in targeting of catalase to peroxisomes and the loss of multiple enzyme activities, we transfected the mutant cells with normal catalase modified to contain either PTS1 or PTS2 signal sequence. We demonstrate the integrity of these pathways by targeting catalase into peroxisomes via PTS1 or PTS2 pathways. Furthermore, restoration of peroxisomal functions by targeting catalase-SKL protein (a catalase fused to the PTS1 sequence) to peroxisomes indicates that loss of multiple functions may be due to their inactivation by H2O2 or other oxygen species in these catalase-negative peroxisomes. In addition to enzyme activities, targeting of catalase-SKL chimera to peroxisomes also corrected the in situ levels of fatty acids and plasmalogens in these mutant cell lines. In normal fibroblasts treated with aminotriazole to inhibit catalase, we found that peroxisomal functions were inhibited to the level found in mutant cells, an observation that supports the conclusion that multiple peroxisomal enzyme defects in these patients are caused by H2O2 toxicity in catalase-negative peroxisomes. Moreover, targeting of catalase to peroxisomes via PTS1 and PTS2 pathways in these mutant cell lines suggests that there is another pathway for catalase import into peroxisomes and that an abnormality in this pathway manifests as a peroxisomal disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Transport
  • Catalase / metabolism*
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Line
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / pharmacology
  • Microbodies / drug effects
  • Microbodies / metabolism*
  • Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Peroxisomal Disorders / etiology*
  • Peroxisomal Targeting Signal 2 Receptor
  • Peroxisome-Targeting Signal 1 Receptor
  • Plasmalogens / metabolism
  • Protein Sorting Signals / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Zellweger Syndrome / etiology


  • Fatty Acids
  • Peroxisomal Targeting Signal 2 Receptor
  • Peroxisome-Targeting Signal 1 Receptor
  • Plasmalogens
  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Catalase