Regulation of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase in L6 cells by polyamines and related compounds

B. G. Erwin, A. E. Pegg

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Exposure of rat L6 cells in culture to exogenous polyamines led to a very large increase in the activity of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase. Spermine was more potent than spermidine in bringing about this increase, but in both cases the elevated acetyltransferase activity increased the cellular conversion of spermidine into putrescine. The N1-acetyltransferase turned over very rapidly in the L6 cells, with a half-life of 9 min after spermidine and 18 min after spermine. A wide variety of synthetic polyamine analogues also brought about a substantial induction of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase activity. These included sym-norspermidine, sym-norspermine, sym-homospermidine, N4-substituted spermidine derivatives, 1,3,6-triaminohexane, 1,4,7-triaminoheptane and deoxyspergualin, which were comparable with spermidine in their potency, and N1N8-bis(ethyl)spermidine, N1N9-bis(ethyl)homospermidine, methylglyoxal bis(guanylhydrazone), ethylglyoxal bis(guanylhydrazone) and 1,1'-[(methylethanediylidene)dinitrilo]bis(3-aminoguanidine), which were even more active than spermidine. It is suggested that these polyamine analogues may bring about a decrease in cellular polyamines not only by inhibiting biosynthesis but by stimulating the degradation of spermidine into putrescine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-587
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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