Peroxins are proteins required for peroxisome assembly and are encoded by the PEX genes. The Yarrowia lipolytica pex5-1 mutant fails to import a subset of peroxisomal matrix proteins, including those with a type 1 peroxisomal targeting signal (PTS1). Pex5p family members interact with a PTS1 through their characteristic tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domain. We used binding assays in vitro to investigate the nature of the association of Y. lipolytica Pex5p (YlPex5p) with the PTS1 signal. A purified recombinant YlPex5p fusion protein interacted specifically, directly and autonomously with a protein terminating in a PTS1. Wild-type YlPex5p translated in vitro recognized functional PTS1s specifically. This activity is abrogated by the substitution of an aspartic residue for a conserved glycine residue in the TPR domain (G455D) of YlPex5p encoded by the pex5-1 allele. Deletion analysis demonstrated that an intact TPR domain of YlPex5p is necessary but not sufficient for both interaction with a PTS1 and functional complementation of a strain lacking YlPex5p.

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