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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Pneumocystis carinii polyamine catabolism.

DL-alpha-Difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) causes polyamines of the AIDS-associated opportunistic pathogen Pneumocystis carinii to diminish 15 times more rapidly than mammalian host cells. The proposed mechanism was that, unlike mammalian cells, P. carinii is unable to regulate polyamine catabolism when synthesis is blocked. To test this, the responses of the polyamine catabolic enzymes spermidine/spermine acetyltransferase (SSAT) and polyamine oxidase ( PAO) were determined using a new high-performance liquid chromatography assay to measure the products of these enzymes. The specific activities in untreated Pneumocystis carinii were 1.78 +/- 0.5 pmol min(-1) mg protein(-1) for SSAT, similar to mammalian cells, and 6.42 +/- 0.8 pmol min(-1) mg protein(-1) for PAO, 19% of that of mammalian cells. DFMO treatment for 12 h caused reductions of only 11 and 4% in SSAT and PAO, respectively, despite polyamine reductions of 94, 96, and 90% for putrescine, spermidine, and spermine, respectively. The P. carinii SSAT K(m) value of 25 microM spermidine is 20% of that of mammalian cells, and the PAO K(m) value of 14 nM N(1)-acetylspermidine is 0.01% of that of mammalian cells. Acetylated polyamines continue to be lost from P. carinii even when exposed to DFMO. Collectively, these results support the hypothesis that P. carinii is unable to regulate polyamine catabolism.[1]


  1. Pneumocystis carinii polyamine catabolism. Merali, S. J. Biol. Chem. (1999) [Pubmed]
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