An early enlargement of the putrescine pool is required for growth in L1210 mouse leukemia cells under hypoosmotic stress

Richard Poulin, Rita S. Wechter, Anthony E. Pegg

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Hypoosmotic stress is a potent inducer of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) activity in a variety of mammalian cells, but the physiological relevance of this response has not been determined. To test whether an increased putrescine content confers a growth advantage at lower osmolarities, we compared the ability of L1210 mouse leukemia cellsof ODC-overproducing variants obtained from this cell line (D-R cells) to proliferate after a hypotonic shock (325 → 130 mos-mol/kg). The growth rate of D-R cells at 130 mosmol/ kg was ≥ 5-fold higher than in L1210 cells; and unlike the ODC-overproducing strain, L1210 cells underwent up to a 90% loss of viability over time as seen after restoration of normosmotic growth conditions and by trypan blue exclusion tests. The addition of putrescine or L-ornithine stimulated the proliferation of both cell sublines up to 5-fold in a concentration-dependent manner, with a maximal effect observed at about 10 and 100 μM, respectively. Putrescine restored virtually normal growth rates in both sublines at osmolarities as low as 190 mosmol/kg. No other α,ωw-diamine was active in that respect whereas spermidine was markedly inhibitory. Furthermore, D-R cells incubated at 130 mosmol/kg showed a marked growth inhibition by 1-aminooxy-3-aminopropane (potent ODC inhibitor to which they are resistant in isotonic media) as a result of putrescine but not spermidine depletion. Whereas ODC was strongly and rapidly induced by hypotonic shock there was a precipitous decline in S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase activity. Putrescine synthesis and accumulation were nevertheless reduced in DR cells incubated at 130 mosmol/kg because of a decreased availability of L-ornithine. When either putrescine or L-ornithine was added to hypotonic media, D-R cells accumulated putrescine massively for extended periods together with a reduction in spermidine and spermine contents. Putrescine transport patterns were altered by hypotonic shock, net excretion of the diamine being reduced by about 80%, with a concurrent enlargement of the intracellular pool. Finally, parental L1210 cells incubated with an irreversible inhibitor of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase for 24 h until hypotonic shock and supplemented with putrescine in the presence of the drug thereafter exhibited a greatly exaggerated growth stimulation by the diamine. These results demonstrate an essential role for an early increase in putrescine content in the growth adaptation of a mammalian cell line to a lower osmolarity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6142-6151
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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