We previously described the isolation of mutants of the methylotrophic yeast Hansenula polymorpha that are defective in peroxisome biogenesis. Here, we describe the characterization of one of these mutants, per8, and the cloning of the PER8 gene. In either methanol or methylamine medium, conditions that normally induce the organelles, per8 cells contain no peroxisome-like structures and peroxisomal enzymes are located in the cytosol. The sequence of PER8 predicts that its product (Per8p) is a novel polypeptide of 34 kD, and antibodies against Per8p recognize a protein of 31 kD. Analysis of the primary sequence of Per8p revealed a 39-amino-acid cysteine-rich segment with similarity to the C3HC4 family of zinc-finger motifs. Overexpression of PER8 results in a markedly enhanced increase in peroxisome numbers. We show that Per8p is an integral membrane protein of the peroxisome and that it is concentrated in the membranes of newly formed organelles. We propose that Per8p is a component of the molecular machinery that controls the proliferation of this organelle.

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