Thursday, June 3, 2010

The life of peroxisome.. (My Birthday Post)

Exactly one year before, I was at home celebrating my most memorable Birthday ever. ALL cousins, uncles, aunts were present at my home on my last birthday which was a rarest event in my life. One year has passed since, now I am in Germany, with not even a single relative or friend around today. But still I am not feeling alone. I have someone special to accompany me in the loneliness and Its a great company. There seems to be an eternal bond formed between me and my friend, Peroxisome!!!

I was wondering what to do today, since the university as well as city was closed due to a public holiday. I thought why not write a special post about peroxisome..

Brief timeline

1954 - First description of cytoplasmic organelle Microbody by J.rhodin
1964 - “Principles of Tissue fractionation” authored by de Duve.
1974 - The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
            Albert Claude, Christian de Duve, George E. Palade
            "for their discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell"
1984 (3rd June) - My Birthday (highly insignificant event!)

What’s special about peroxisomes?
I initially started working with glycosomes from trypanosomes. Glycosomes are related to peroxisomes but derive their name after glycolysis which is compartmentalized in glycosomes as opposed to glycolysis occurring in cytoplasm of all other eukaryotes.

I got a chance to work in peroxisome research group at Ruhr-University Bochum with my DAAD short term fellowship. I started reading more about peroxisomes which attracted me further and further towards peroxisomes. I felt so passionate about this organelle, that I decided to quit my PhD in India and stay in peroxisome research. I started writing weekly review of new peroxisome related papers for our group. And now I made it into a Scientific Blog "Peroxisome-Research"  (

What makes peroxisome my beloved entity is its unique features and our limited understanding of them. It is still a debate whether peroxisome is endosymbiont in origin or just an extension of endomembrane system. Many people consider peroxisome is not just an organelle for free radical detoxification or fatty acid metabolism. It’s the same place where fireflies produce wonderful light. Peroxisomes are shown to be involved in immunity in human as well as in plants very recently (1,2). More intriguing is the protein transport across the peroxisome membrane in folded active form. Now it has been proved that receptor protein can form transient channels to allow such folded protein transport(3). But still peroxisome membrane is synonymous with a giant wall which can allow elephant(Oligomeric protein) to pass through it, yet restrict ants(for e.g. small metabolites)!.

Peroxisome talk with other organelles. Ranging from ER, mitochondria, chloroplast to lipid droplets..(4,5,6,7) Peroxisomes can swim in the cytosol (8), signal the cell through peroxide, NO or calcium (9,10,11) and so on. Peroxisomes can arise from ER, rely on fission for proliferation and they die by pexophagy (12,13,14).

The peroxisome is still like a bunch of mysteries for me. Every time I read a new paper about peroxisome, I feel that those mysteries are unfolding. Something that doesn’t let you sleep and keeps dreaming about it, that is the passion which I feel about peroxisomes. And I would love to live with this passion about peroxisomes for coming years, unfold some mysteries on my own and celebrate my Birthdays with them!!

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