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J Biochem. 2006 Jan;139(1):11-6.

Polyamine Modulon in Escherichia coli: genes involved in the stimulation of cell growth by polyamines.

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Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chiba 260-8675.


We have recently proposed an idea to explain how polyamines enhance cell growth in Escherichia coli. Since most polyamines exist as polyamine-RNA complexes, our idea is that polyamines stimulate several kinds of protein synthesis which are important for cell growth at the level of translation. We found that synthesis of oligopeptide binding protein (OppA), which is important for nutrient supply, adenylate cyclase (Cya), RNA polymerase sigma(38) subunit (RpoS), transcription factor of iron transport operon (FecI), and transcription factor of growth-related genes including rRNA and some kinds of tRNA synthesis (Fis) was enhanced by polyamines at the level of translation. We proposed that a group of genes whose expression is enhanced by polyamines at the level of translation be referred to as a "polyamine modulon." By DNA microarray, we found that 309 of 2,742 mRNA species were up-regulated by polyamines. Among the 309 up-regulated genes, transcriptional enhancement of at least 58 genes might be attributable to increased levels of the transcription factors Cya, RpoS, FecI, and Fis. This unifying molecular mechanism is proposed to underlie the physiological role of polyamines in controlling the growth of Escherichia coli.

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