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DEVELOPMENTAL STUDIES ON GLYOXYSOMES IN RICINUS ENDOSPERM

B. P. Gerhardt, Harry Beevers

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The development of glyoxysomes and their associated enzymes, isocitrate lyase and malate synthetase, was studied in the endosperm of castor bean seeds during germination and early growth in darkness. The protein content of the glyoxysome fraction, separated by sucrose density centrifugation, increased linearly from day 2 to day 4 and declined subsequently, while maximum enzyme activities were reached at day 5. The specific activities of the enzymes in the glyoxysomes increased until day 5 and remained constant thereafter. At all stages of germination the only organelle with isocitrate lyase activity was the glyoxysome, but at the earlier stages a greater portion of the total activity was recovered in the soluble form. Malate synthetase was found primarily in the glyoxysomes after day 4, but at earlier stages part of the activity appeared at regions of lower density on the sucrose gradient. It was shown that this particulate malate synthetase activity was due to glyoxysomes broken during preparation, and that, as a result of this breakage, isocitrate lyase was solubilized. We conclude that both enzymes are housed in the glyoxysome in vivo throughout the germination period, and that the rise and fall in enzyme activities in phase with fat breakdown correspond to the net production and destruction of this organelle.