Decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine was found to be a substrate for the nuclear acetyl-transferases that act on polyamines and on histones. The rate of acetylation of decarboxylated Sadenosylmethionine was more than twice that of spermidine at saturating substrate concentrations, and decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine was an active inhibitor of the acetylation of histones by nuclear extracts from rat liver. The acetylation of decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine occurred in vivo in SV-3T3 cells exposed to the ornithine decarboxylase inhibitor 2-(difluoromethyl)ornithine. The decline in putrescine and spermidine brought about by exposure to 2-(difluoromethyl)ornithine was found to be accompanied by a large rise in the content of both decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine and acetylated decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine. These results indicate that decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine is metabolized not only in the well-known reactions in which it serves as an aminopropyl donor for polyamine biosynthesis but also by acetylation in reaction with acetyl coenzyme A. Furthermore, the inhibition of histone acetylation by decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine could contribute to the biological effects brought about by inhibitors of ornithine decarboxylase.
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