Differential distribution of peroxisomal proteins points to specific roles of peroxisomes in the murine retina

  • Yannick Das
  • Nele Roose
  • Lies De Groef
  • Marc Fransen
  • Lieve Moons
  • Paul P. Van Veldhoven
  • Myriam Baes


The retinal pathology in peroxisomal disorders suggests that peroxisomes are important to maintain retinal homeostasis and function. These ubiquitous cell organelles are mainly involved in lipid metabolism, which comprises α- and β-oxidation and ether lipid synthesis. Although peroxisomes were extensively studied in liver, their role in the retina still remains to be elucidated. As a first step in gaining more insight into the role of peroxisomes in retinal physiology, we performed immunohistochemical stainings, immunoblotting and enzyme activity measurements to reveal the distribution of peroxisomes and peroxisomal lipid metabolizing enzymes in the murine retina. Whereas peroxisomes were detected in every retinal layer, we found a clear differential distribution of the peroxisomal lipid metabolizing enzymes in the neural retina compared to the retinal pigment epithelium. In particular, the ABC transporters that transfer lipid substrates into the organelle as well as several enzymes of the β-oxidation pathway were enriched either in the neural retina or in the retinal pigment epithelium. In conclusion, our results strongly indicate that peroxisome function varies between different regions in the murine retina.


Metabolism β-Oxidation PUFA Plasmalogens Retina Retinal pigment epithelium Zellweger syndrome 



This research was supported by Grants from the Belgian Fund for Research in Ophthalmology and from the KU Leuven (C14/18/088). The Leica SP8x confocal microscope was provided by InfraMouse (KU Leuven-VIB) through a Hercules type 3 project (ZW09-03). The authors would like to thank Stefan Vinckier for the help with the confocal microscopy, and An Carton, Ann Manderveld and Benno Das for excellent technical assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, Cell MetabolismKU Leuven -University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Animal Physiology and NeurobiologyKU Leuven -University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Lipid Biochemistry and Protein Interactions (LIPIT)KU Leuven -University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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