Saccharomyces cerevisiae pas3-mutants are described which conform the pas-phenotype recently reported for the peroxisomal assembly mutants pas1-1 and pas2 (Erdmann, R., M. Veenhuis, D. Mertens, and W.-H Kunau, 1989, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 86:5419-5423). The isolation of pas3-mutants enabled us to clone the PAS3 gene by functional complementation. DNA sequence analysis revealed a 50.6-kD protein with at least one domain of sufficient length and hydrophobicity to span a lipid bilayer. To verify these predictions antibodies were raised against a truncated portion of the PAS3 coding region overexpressed in E. coli. Pas3p was identified as a 48 kD peroxisomal integral membrane protein. It is shown that a lack of this protein causes the peroxisome-deficient phenotype and the cytosolic mislocalization of peroxisomal matrix enzymes. Based on protease digestion experiments Pas3p is discussed to be anchored in the peroxisomal membrane by its amino-terminus while the bulk of the molecule is exposed to the cytosol. These findings are consistent with the possibility that Pas3p is one component of the peroxisomal import machinery.

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