A Pichia pastoris VPS15 homologue is required in selective peroxisome autophagy
PER genes are essential for the biogenesis of peroxisomes in the yeast Pichia pastoris. Here we describe the cloning of PER3 and functional characterization of its product Per3p. The PER3 sequence predicts that Per3p is a 713-amino acid (81-kDa) hydrophobic protein with at least three potential membrane-spanning domains. We show that Per3p is a membrane protein of the peroxisome. Methanol- or oleate-induced cells of per3-1, a mutant strain generated by chemical mutagenesis, lack normal peroxisomes but contain numerous abnormal vesicular structures. The vesicles contain thiolase, a PTS2 protein, but only a small portion of several other peroxisomal enzymes, including heterologously expressed luciferase, a PTS1 protein. These results suggest that the vesicles in per3-1 cells are peroxisomal remnants similar to those observed in cells of patients with the peroxisomal disorder Zellweger syndrome, and that the mutant is deficient in PTS1 but not PTS2 import. In a strain in which most of PER3 was deleted, peroxisomes as well as peroxisomal remnants appeared to be completely absent, and both PTS1- and PTS2-containing enzymes were located in the cytosol. We propose that Per3p is an essential component of the machinery required for import of all peroxisomal matrix proteins and is composed of independent domains involved in the import of specific PTS groups.