The import receptor for the peroxisomal targeting signal 2 (PTS2) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is encoded by the PAS7 gene.
The import of peroxisomal matrix proteins is dependent on one of two targeting signals, PTS1 and PTS2. We demonstrate in vivo that not only the import of thiolase but also that of a chimeric protein consisting of the thiolase PTS2 (amino acids 1-18) fused to the bacterial protein beta-lactamase is Pas7p dependent. In addition, using a combination of several independent approaches (two-hybrid system, co-immunoprecipitation, affinity chromatography and high copy suppression), we show that Pas7p specifically interacts with thiolase in vivo and in vitro. For this interaction, the N-terminal PTS2 of thiolase is both necessary and sufficient. The specific binding of Pas7p to thiolase does not require peroxisomes. Pas7p recognizes the PTS2 of thiolase even when this otherwise N-terminal targeting signal is fused to the C-terminus of other proteins, i.e. the activation domain of Gal4p or GST. These results demonstrate that Pas7p is the targeting signal-specific receptor of thiolase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and, moreover, are consistent with the view that Pas7p is the general receptor of the PTS2. Our observation that Pas7p also interacts with the human peroxisomal thiolase suggests that in the human peroxisomal disorders characterized by an import defect for PTS2 proteins (classical rhizomelic chondrodysplasia punctata), a functional homologue of Pas7p may be impaired.