Polyamines are ubiquitous organic cations of low molecular weight. The content of these amines is closely regulated by the cell according to the state of growth. The reactions responsible for the biosynthesis and interconversion of the polyamines and their precursor putrescine are described and the means by which polyamine content can be varied in response to exogenous stimuli are discussed. The role of polyamines in the cell cycle, cell division, tissue growth, and differentiation is considered. Recent studies using highly specific inhibitors of polyamine biosynthesis such as α-difluoromethylornithine to prevent accumulation of polyamines have indicated that the synthesis of polyamines is intimately associated with these processes. Such inhibitors have great potential for investigation of the cellular role of polyamines.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology