Mitochondria and Peroxisomes from the Cellular Slime Mould Dictyostelium discoideum. Isolation Techniques and Urate Oxidase Association with Peroxisomes Academic Article uri icon


  • The isolation of cell organelles from Dictyostelium discoideum was attempted using a variety of techniques. Cell homogenization (e.g. Potter-Elvehjem, glass beads) gave poor yields of organelles which were, in addition, exceptionally fragile and unstable in density gradients. An isolation method was developed using Triton X-100 in buffered sorbitol/Ficoll solutions at concentrations optimal for plasma membrane rupture. Immediately following cell lysis the solutions were diluted to sub-optimal Triton X-100 concentrations. Sedimentabilities of malate dehydrogenase, citrate synthetase, urate oxidase and catalase of around 55%, 40%, 35% and 55% respectively could be demonstrated using this method. The organelles were more resistant to breakage during resuspension following differential centrifugation and remained largely intact during density gradient centrifugation. The distribution of adenylate kinase activity in gradients showed that at least half the mitochondria retained an intact outer membrane. The mitochondria and peroxisomes could not be clearly separated using conventional sucrose-Ficoll density gradients. Separation was achieved by incubating the cell homogenate with succinate and a tetrazolium dye (2-p-iodophenyl-3-p-nitrophenyl-5-phenyl monotetrazolium chloride). Succinate dehydrogenase activity of mitochondria reduced the tetrazolium dye and the product (formazan) was deposited on the mitochondrial membranes ("heavy-labelling"). The mitochondria then sedimented to denser regions of the gradient while catalase distribution remained unchanged. The treatment left both organelles intact. The mitochondria (1.21 g/ml) were slightly denser than the peroxisomes (1.19 g/ml). The peroxisomes contained catalase and urate oxidase; no other hydrogen-peroxide-producing oxidases were detected. The slime mould urate oxidase resembled the mammalian enzyme. It had an apparent Km value of 12.5 muM, an optimum of activity at pH 8.5 in borate buffer and was competitively inhibited by trichloropurine.

publication date

  • October 1975

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