JOURNAL ARTICLE

Effects of conditional overexpression of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase on polyamine pool dynamics, cell growth, and sensitivity to polyamine analogs

S Vujcic, M Halmekyto, P Diegelman, G Gan, D L Kramer, J Janne, C W Porter
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2000 December 8, 275 (49): 38319-28
10978316
Acetylation of polyamines by spermidine/spermine N(1)-acetyltransferase (SSAT) has been implicated in their degradation and/or export out of the cell. The relationship of SSAT to polyamine pool dynamics and cell growth is not yet clearly understood. MCF-7 human breast carcinoma cells were transfected with tetracycline-regulated (Tet-off) SSAT human cDNA or murine gene. Doxycycline removal for >2 days caused a approximately 20-fold increase in SSAT RNA and a approximately 10-fold increase in enzyme activity. After 4 days, intracellular putrescine and spermidine pools were markedly lowered, and cell growth was inhibited. Growth inhibition could not be prevented with exogenous polyamines due to a previously unrecognized ability of SSAT to rapidly acetylate influxing polyamines and thereby prevent restoration of the endogenous pools. Instead, cells accumulated high levels of N(1)-acetylspermidine, N(1)-acetylspermine, and N(1), N(12)-diacetylspermine, a metabolite not previously reported in mammalian cells. Doxycycline deprivation before treatment with N(1), N(11)-diethylnorspermine markedly increased analog induction of SSAT mRNA and activity and enhanced growth sensitivity to the analog by approximately 100-fold. Overall, the findings demonstrate that conditional overexpression of SSAT lowers polyamine pools, inhibits cell growth, and markedly enhances growth sensitivity to certain analogs. The enzyme also plays a remarkably efficient role in maintaining polyamine pool homeostasis during challenges with exogenous polyamines.

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