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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2003 Jul;60(7):1394-406.

Polyamine-dependent gene expression.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, 1515 N. Campbell Avenue, P.O. Box 245024, Tucson, Arizona 85724, USA.


The polyamines spermidine and spermine along with the diamine putrescine are involved in many cellular processes, including chromatin condensation, maintenance of DNA structure, RNA processing, translation and protein activation. The polyamines influence the formation of compacted chromatin and have a well-established role in DNA aggregation. Polyamines are used in the posttranslational modification of eukaryotic initiation factor 5A, which regulates the transport and processing of specific RNA. The polyamines also participate in a novel RNA-decoding mechanism, a translational frame-shift, of at least two known genes, the TY1 transposon and mammalian antizyme. Polyamines are crucial for their own regulation and are involved in feedback mechanisms affecting both polyamine synthesis and catabolism. Recently, it has become apparent that the polyamines are able to influence the action of the protein kinase casein kinase 2. Here we address several roles of polyamines in gene expression.

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