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

The role of polyamine catabolism in polyamine analogue-induced programmed cell death.

N1-ethyl-N11-[(cyclopropyl)methyl]-4,8,-diazaundecane (CPENSpm) is a polyamine analogue that represents a new class of antitumor agents that demonstrate phenotype-specific cytotoxic activity. However, the precise mechanism of its selective cytotoxic activity is not known. CPENSpm treatment results in the superinduction of the polyamine catabolic enzyme spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) in sensitive cell types and has been demonstrated to induce programmed cell death (PCD). The catalysis of polyamines by the SSAT/ polyamine oxidase ( PAO) pathway produces H2O2 as one product, suggesting that PCD produced by CPENSpm may be, in part, due to oxidative stress as a result of H2O2 production. In the sensitive human nonsmall cell line H157, the coaddition of catalase significantly reduces high molecular weight (HMW) DNA (>/=50 kb) and nuclear fragmentation. Important to note, specific inhibition of PAO by N,N'-bis(2, 3-butadienyl)-1,4-butane-diamine results in a significant reduction of the formation of HMW DNA and nuclear fragmentation. In contrast, the coaddition of catalase or PAO inhibitor has no effect on reducing HMW DNA fragmentation induced by N1-ethyl-N11-[(cycloheptyl)methyl]-4,8,-diazaundecane, which does not induce SSAT and does not deplete intracellular polyamines. These results strongly suggest that H2O2 production by PAO has a role in CPENSpm cytotoxicity in sensitive cells via PCD and demonstrate a potential basis for differential sensitivity to this promising new class of antineoplastic agents. Furthermore, the data suggest a general mechanism by which, under certain stimuli, cells can commit suicide through catabolism of the ubiquitous intracellular polyamines.[1]


  1. The role of polyamine catabolism in polyamine analogue-induced programmed cell death. Ha, H.C., Woster, P.M., Yager, J.D., Casero, R.A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1997) [Pubmed]
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