Studies of non-metabolizable polyamines that support growth of SV-3T3 cells depleted of natural polyamines by exposure to α-difluoromethylornithine

S. Nagarajan, B. Ganem, A. E. Pegg

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A number of synthetic polyamine derivatives that included five achiral gem-dimethylspermidines and two analogous tetramethylated spermines were tested for their abilities to serve as substrates for enzymes metabolizing polyamines and for their capacities to substitute for the natural polyamines in cell growth. It was found that none of the compounds were effective substrates for spermine synthase, and only one, namely 8,8-dimethylspermidine, was a substrate for spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase. However, all of the spermidine derivatives and 1,1,12,12-tetramethylspermine were able to support the growth of SV-3T3 cells in which endogenous polyamine synthesis was prevented by the addition of α-difluoromethylornithine. These results suggest that either spermidine or spermine can support cell growth without the need for metabolic interconversion. In contrast with the result with 1,1,12,12-tetramethylspermine, 3,3,10,10-tetramethylspermine did not restore growth of polyamine-depleted SV-3T3 cells. Comparison of the properties of these derivatives may prove valuable in understanding the physiological role of polyamines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-378
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1988


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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