, Volume 129, Issue 4, pp 421-440,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 15 Feb 2008

The peroxisome: still a mysterious organelle

Abstract

More than half a century of research on peroxisomes has revealed unique features of this ubiquitous subcellular organelle, which have often been in disagreement with existing dogmas in cell biology. About 50 peroxisomal enzymes have so far been identified, which contribute to several crucial metabolic processes such as β-oxidation of fatty acids, biosynthesis of ether phospholipids and metabolism of reactive oxygen species, and render peroxisomes indispensable for human health and development. It became obvious that peroxisomes are highly dynamic organelles that rapidly assemble, multiply and degrade in response to metabolic needs. However, many aspects of peroxisome biology are still mysterious. This review addresses recent exciting discoveries on the biogenesis, formation and degradation of peroxisomes, on peroxisomal dynamics and division, as well as on the interaction and cross talk of peroxisomes with other subcellular compartments. Furthermore, recent advances on the role of peroxisomes in medicine and in the identification of novel peroxisomal proteins are discussed.