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Rockefeller University Press, Journal of Cell Biology, 1(136), p. 71-80, 1997

DOI: 10.1083/jcb.136.1.71



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Visualization of the Peroxisomal Compartment in Living Mammalian Cells: Dynamic Behavior and Association with Microtubules

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This paper is available in a repository.

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Peroxisomes in living CV1 cells were visualized by targeting the green fluorescent protein (GFP) to this subcellular compartment through the addition of a COOH-terminal peroxisomal targeting signal 1 (GFP-PTS1). The organelle dynamics were examined and analyzed using time-lapse confocal laser scanning microscopy. Two types of movement could be distinguished: a relatively slow, random, vibration-like movement displayed by the majority (approximately 95%) of the peroxisomes, and a saltatory, fast directional movement displayed by a small subset (approximately 5%) of the peroxisomes. In the latter instance, peak velocities up to 0.75 micron/s and sustained directional velocities up to 0.45 micron/s over 11.5 microns were recorded. Only the directional type of motion appeared to be energy dependent, whereas the vibrational movement continued even after the cells were depleted of energy. Treatment of cells, transiently expressing GFP-PTS1, with microtubule-destabilizing agents such as nocodazole, vinblastine, and demecolcine clearly altered peroxisome morphology and subcellular distribution and blocked the directional movement. In contrast, the microtubule-stabilizing compound paclitaxel, or the microfilament-destabilizing drugs cytochalasin B or D, did not exert these effects. High resolution confocal analysis of cells expressing GFP-PTS1 and stained with anti-tubulin antibodies revealed that many peroxisomes were associated with microtubules. The GFP-PTS1-labeled peroxisomes were found to distribute themselves in a stochastic, rather than ordered, manner to daughter cells at the time of mitosis.