Introduction to Peroxisomes

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An Introduction to Peroxisomes: “Peroxisomal Proteins and Pathways in Drosophila” Discovered in the 1950’s, peroxisomes were found floating within a cell’s cytoplasm using electronic microscopy by J. Rhodin (Schluter, 2010). These were later classified as organelles and the functions of these organelles were also further discovered and understood. Peroxisomes are membrane-bound organelle that are found in all eukaryotic cells participate in many metabolic reactions within the cell. These reactions include “β-oxidation of fatty acids, α-oxidation of branched chain fatty acids and ether lipid biosynthesis” (Faust et al., 2012). Alberts et al. (2002) state that these peroxisomes have the ability to remove hydrogen atoms from various fatty acids and hydrocarbons using oxygen in oxidative reactions, in an attempt to break down these reactants. However, by removing this hydrogen; toxic or volatile oxygen molecules, such as hydrogen peroxide (H₂O₂), are produced. Alberts et al. (2002) continues to explain that peroxisomes provide a protected environment in order to consume these toxic products with the use of enzymes like catalase and urate oxidas. This process of breaking down fatty acids may seem menial but a buildup of fatty acids can cause damage to various structures such as “the myelin 'insulation' sheath surrounding nerve fibers in the brain” (BSCB, 2012), causing various diseases. Faust et al. (2012) also indicates that there is a range of Peroxisomal diseases called peroxisome biogenesis disorders (PBDs) that can be due to any faults in enzymes used in peroxisomes that affect the nervous system and these disorders often result in death despite being “fairly rare inherited diseases” (BSCB, 2012). In order to appreciate the experiment and results obtained from the journal article “An Inventory of Peroxisomal Proteins and Pathways in Drosophila melanogaster,” one must have an understanding of the β-oxidation and α-oxidation pathway. Alberts et al. (2002) describe...
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