Correlations between polyamine analogue-induced increases in spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase activity, polyamine pool depletion, and growth inhibition in human melanoma cell lines

C W Porter, B Ganis, P R Libby, R J Bergeron
Cancer Research 1991 July 15, 51 (14): 3715-20
The polyamine analogue, N1,N12-bis(ethyl(-spermine (BESPM), is known to suppress ornithine and S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase levels, deplete intracellular polyamine pools, and inhibit cell growth. Among human melanoma cell lines, MALME-3 cells were found to be typically sensitive to the antiproliferative activity of the BESPM, whereas LOX cells were atypically insensitive to the analogue. A comparison of polyamine-related parameters revealed that the most differentially altered activity between the 2 BESPM-treated cell lines was that of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT), which increased from 50 pmol/min/mg to greater than 10,000 pmol/min/mg in MALME-3 cells and from 16 pmol/min/mg to only 120 pmol/min/mg in LOX cells over 48 h. The basis for the large difference seems to be related to increased enzyme synthesis in both cell lines coupled with differences in prolongation of SSAT half-life (greater than 12 h in MALME-3 cells versus 1.6 h in LOX cells) after BESPM treatment. In MALME-3 cells, SSAT accumulation was found to be differentially modulated by the BESPM homologues, N1,N11-bis-(ethyl)norspermine and N1,N14-bis-(ethyl)homospermine, which were 5-fold more and 9-fold less effective, respectively, than BESPM in increasing SSAT but similar in analogue uptake and effects on polyamine biosynthesis and cell growth inhibition. Treatment of MALME-3 cells with BESPM resulted in an accumulation of N-acetylspermidine in cells and the enhanced excretion of putrescine, spermidine, and N-acetylspermidine into the medium. The relationship between SSAT induction and growth sensitivity was deduced to be a possible function of increased excretion of acetylated polyamines leading to enhanced polyamine pool depletion. The data suggest that, in cell types in which it occurs, unusually high increases in SSAT activity may serve as a determinant of growth sensitivity to bis-ethyl spermine analogues or, alternatively, as a target for appropriately designed chemotherapeutic strategies.

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