Expression of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase in HeLa cells is regulated by amion acid deficiency

C. Aubel, H. Chabanon, V. Carraro, Heather Mann Wallace, P. Brachet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of amino acids on the regulation of the expression of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT), the key enzyme of polyamine catabolism, was studied in HeLa cells. When compared with similar exposure to complete medium, deprivation of arginine, methionine or leucine gave rise to a time-dependent, slowly reversible increase in the cellular level of SSAT mRNA that started to be significant after 8, 12 or 16 h and reached four-, five- and two-fold after 16 h, respectively. Experiments utilizing (i) constructs containing fragments of the SSAT promoter linked to a luciferase reporter gene or (ii) actinomycin D (Act-D)-treated cells indicated that the increase in the SSAT mRNA level was due to an augmentation in gene transcription and message stability after omission of one of the polyamine precursor amino acids. By contrast, SSAT mRNA stabilisation was only observed when leucine was the omitted amino acid. Amino acid deprivation was also found to cause increased intracellular activity of SSAT concurrent with changes in the cell polyamine content, namely increased putrescine but decreased spermine levels. Furthermore, stable expression of a dominant negative mutant of stress-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (SAPK/ERK) kinase 1 in HeLa cells was found to inhibit the increase in SSAT mRNA by amino acid deprivation. The data suggest that c-Jun N-terminal kinase/SAPK (JNK/SAPK) may be involved in the amino acid-dependent regulation of SSAT expression. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1388-1396
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • SSAT
  • c-Jun N-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase
  • transcription
  • mRNA stability
  • asparagine synthetase gene
  • spermine N1-acetyltransferase
  • polyamine analog
  • C-JUN
  • protein-synthesis
  • messenger-RNA
  • cancer-cells
  • metabolism
  • induction
  • growth


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