Regulation of ornithine decarboxylase activity by spermidine and the spermidine analogue N1N8-bis(ethyl)spermidine

C. W. Porter, F. G. Berger, A. E. Pegg, B. Ganis, R. J. Bergeron

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Polyamine biosynthesis in intact cells can be exquisitely controlled with exogenous polyamines through the regulation of rate-limiting biosynthetic enzymes, particularly ornithine decarboxylase (ODC). In an attempt to exploit this phenomenon as an antiproliferative strategy, certain polyamine analogues have been identified [Porter, Cavanaugh, Stolowich, Ganis, Kelly & Bergeron (1985) Cancer Res. 45, 2050-2057] which (a) lower ODC activity in intact cells, (b) have no direct inhibitory effects on ODC, (c) are incapable of substituting for spermidine (SPD) in supporting cell growth, and (d) are growth-inhibitory at micromolar concentrations. In the present study, the most effective of these analogues, N1N8-bis(ethyl)SPD (BES), is compared with SPD in its ability to regulate ODC activity in intact L1210 cells and in the mechanism(s) by which this is accomplished. With respect to time and dose-dependence of ODC suppression, both polyamines closely paralleled one another in their response curves, although BES was slightly less effective than SPD. Conditions of minimal treatment leading to near-maximal ODC suppression (70-80%) were determined and found to be 3 μM for 2 h with either SPD or BES. After such treatment, ODC activity was fully recovered within 2-4 h when cells were re-seeded in drug-free media. By assessing BES or [3H]SPD concentrations in trated and recovered cells, it was possible to deduce that an intracellular accumulation of BES or SPD equivalent to less than 6.5% of the combined cellular polyamine pool was sufficient to invoke ODC regulatory mechanisms. Decreases in ODC activity after BES or SPD treatment were closely paralleled by concomitant decreases in ODC protein. Since cellular ODC mRNA was not similarly decreased by either BES or SPD, it was concluded that translational and/or post-translational mechanisms, such as increased degradation of ODC protein or decreased translation of ODC mRNA, were probably responsible for regulation of enzyme activity. Experimental evidence indicated that neither of these mechanisms seemed to be mediated by cyclic AMP or ODC-antizyme induction. On the basis of the consistent similarities between BES and SPD in all parameters studied, it is concluded that the analogue most probably acts by the same mechanisms as SPD in regulating polyamine biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)433-440
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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