Polyamine analogues inhibit the ubiquitination of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase and prevent its targeting to the proteasome for degradation

C. S. Coleman, A. E. Pegg

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49 Scopus citations


Spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT), a key enzyme in mammalian polyamine catabolism, undergoes rapid turnover (half-life approx. 30 min) and is highly inducible in response to polyamine analogues such as bis(ethyl)spermine (BE-3-4-3), which greatly stabilize the enzyme. Rapid degradation of SSAT in reticulocyte lysates was preceded by formation of a ladder of ubiquitinated forms, and required the production of high-molecular-mass complexes with ubiquitin (HMM-SSAT-Ubs). Mutation of all 11 lysines in SSAT separately to arginine demonstrated that no single lysine residue is critical for its degradation in vitro, but mutant K87R had a significantly longer half-life, suggesting that lysine-87 may be the preferred site for ubiquitination. Mutations at the C-terminus of SSAT, such as E171Q, resulted in marked stabilization of the protein, due to the lack of formation of the HMM-SSAT-Ubs. Addition of BE-3-4-3 prevented the accumulation of ubiquitin conjugates and the proteasomal degradation of wild-type SSAT. These results indicate that conformational changes brought about by the binding of polyamine analogues prevent the efficient polyubiquitination of SSAT, leading to a major increase in the amount of SSAT protein, and that alteration of the C-terminal end of the protein has a similar effect in preventing the productive interaction with an E2 or E3 component of the ubiquitin pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 15 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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