University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Beta oxidation in signalling and development. What plants can teach us about yeast and animals

Beta oxidation in signalling and development. What plants can teach us about yeast and animals

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Peroxisomes are arguably the most biochemically versatile of all eukaryotic organelles. Their metabolic functions vary between different organisms, between different tissue types of the same organism, and even between different developmental stages or in response to changed environmental conditions. New functions for peroxisomes are still being discovered and their importance is underscored by the severe phenotypes that can arise as a result of peroxisome dysfunction. The beta oxidation pathway is central to peroxisomal metabolism, but the substrates processed are very diverse, reflecting the diversity of peroxisomes across species. Substrates for beta oxidation enter peroxisomes via ABC transporters of the ABCD sub family and are activated by specific acyl CoA synthetases for further metabolism. Humans have 3 peroxisomal ABCD family members, which are half transporters that homodimerise and have distinct but partially overlapping substrate specificity; S. cerevisiae has 2 half transporters that heterodimerise and plants have a single peroxisomal ABC transporter that is a fused heterodimer and which appears to be the single entry point into peroxisomes for a very wide variety of beta oxidation substrates. Our studies suggest that the Arabidopsis peroxisomal ABC transporter AtABCD1 (COMATOSE/PXA1/PED3) accepts acyl CoA substrates, cleaves them before or during transport followed by reactivation by peroxisomal synthetases. We propose that this is a general mechanism to provide specificity to this class of transporters and by which amphipathic compounds are moved across membranes.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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