We have introduced into Hansenula polymorpha an extra copy of its alcohol oxidase gene. This gene which is under the control of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae phosphoglycerate kinase promoter is integrated in a chromosome different from the one containing the endogenous gene. Cells with the extra alcohol oxidase gene, grown on glucose or ethanol as the sole carbon source, express enzymatically active alcohol oxidase. However, other enzymes characteristic for methylotrophic growth conditions are absent or present at low levels. Most of the alcohol oxidase occurs in the octameric state and immuno- and cytochemical evidence shows that it is located in a single enlarged peroxisome per cell. Such peroxisomes show crystalloid inclusions which are lacking in the peroxisomes present in glucose grown control cells. Our results suggest that import into peroxisomes of H. polymorpha, assembly and activation of alcohol oxidase is not conditionally dependent on adaptation to methylotrophic growth conditions and that proliferation of peroxisomes is a well-programmed process that is not triggered solely by overproduction of a peroxisomal protein.

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