Mutant Gy male mice, which have previously been described as having disruption of the phosphate-regulating Phex gene and a spermine synthase gene [Meyer, Henley, Meyer, Morgan, McDonald, Mills and Price (1998) Genomics, 48, 289-295; Lorenz, Francis, Gempel, Boddrich, Josten, Schmahl and Schmidt (1998) Hum. Mol. Genet. 7, 541-547], as well as mutant Hyp male mice, which have disruption of the Phex gene only, were examined along with their respective normal male littermates. Biochemical analyses of extracts of brains, hearts and livers of 5-week-old mice showed that Gy males lacked any significant spermine synthase activity as well as spermine content. Organs of Gy males had a higher spermidine content. This was caused not only by the lack of conversion of spermidine into spermine, but also because of compensatory increases in the activities of other polyamine biosynthetic enzymes. Gy males were half the body weight of their normal male littermates at weaning age. Hyp males, however, were no different in size when compared with their controls. High mortality of Gy males occurs by weaning age and this mortality was shown to be largely post-natal. Embryonic fibroblasts were isolated from Gy males and their normal male littermates and were similarly shown to lack any significant spermine synthase activity as well as spermine content. The lack of spermine, however, had no significant effect on the growth of immortalized fibroblasts or of primary fibroblast cultures. Similarly, there was no difference in the time of senescence of primary fibroblast cultures from Gy males compared with cultures derived from normal male littermates. However, the lack of spermine did increase the sensitivity of immortalized fibroblasts to killing by the chloroethylating agent 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-N-nitrosourea. Therefore both the Gy male mice and derived embryonic fibroblasts provide valuable models to study the importance of spermine and spermine synthase, without the use of inhibitors which may have additional side effects.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology