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Monkey Kidney Cells with mEmerald-PMP

The function and structure of peroxisomes, as well as lysosomes, were first described by Christian de Duve, a British-born Belgian scientist. De Duve, who initially focused his research on the action of insulin, received part of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1974 for his work with peroxisomes and lysosomes. As he discovered, both types of microbodies are structurally similar, being roughly spherical in shape and surrounded by a single membrane. The two differ significantly, however, in the enzymes they contain and the roles they play within the cell.

Since the early 1980's, several metabolic disorders have been discovered to be caused by molecular defects in peroxisomes. Two major categories have been described so far: The first category is composed of peroxisome biogenesis disorders where the organelle fails to develop normally, causing defects in many peroxisomal proteins. The second category involves defects of single peroxisomal enzymes.

The digital video sequence presented in this section visualizes the dynamic activity of peroxisomes, which were targeted with mEmerald fused to a peroxisomal membrane protein targeting signal. The monomeric green fluorescent protein mEmerald is a high-performance variant of EGFP, which is an enhanced Aequorea derivative. mEmerald benefits from improved brightness and photostability, thought its prominent fast photobleaching component can be problematic in certain microscopy applications.