Regulation of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase activity by alterations in the intracellular polyamine content

L. M. Shantz, I. Holm, O. A. Janne, A. E. Pegg

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56 Scopus citations


The effects of addition of exogenous spermidine and spermine and of two inhibitors of polyamine biosynthesis, α-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), which decreases spermidine concentrations, and n-butyl-1,3-diaminopropane, which depletes spermine, on the expression of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase (AdoMetDC) activity were studied in mammalian cell lines (HT29, CHO and COS-7). AdoMetDC levels were inversely related to the polyamine content, and spermine was the more potent repressor of AdoMetDC activity, but only spermidine affected the amount of AdoMetDC mRNA. Transfection of COS-7 cells or CHO cells with plasmid constructs containing a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene driven by portions of the AdoMetDC promoter region indicated that CAT expression was altered by spermidine, but not by spermine, suggesting that there is a spermidine-responsive element in this promoter. Transient transfection of COS-7 cells with pSAMhl, a plasmid containing the AdoMetDC cDNA in a vector with the SV40 promoter and origin of replication, led to a large increase in AdoMetDC expression. Although treatment of COS-7 cells with n-butyl-1,3-diaminopropane greatly increased endogenous AdoMetDC activity, the spermine depletion brought about by this inhibitor did not stimulate AdoMetDC expression from pSAMhl. The pSAMhl cDNA is missing 72 nucleotides from the S' end of the AdoMetDC mRNA, and it is possible that translational regulation by spermine involves this region. The expression of AdoMetDC from pSAMhl in COS-7 cells was greatly inhibited by DFMO treatment, although endogenous AdoMetDC activity was increased. The expression of other plasmids containing the SV40 origin of replication was also inhibited by DFMO in COS-7 cells, but not in CHO cells. DFMO treatment did not interfere with the expression of plasmids driven by the RSV promoter. These results suggest that low spermidine levels interfere with the replication of plasmids containing the SV40 origin of replication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-518
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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