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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1996 Aug;28(8):843-61.

Polyamine transport in mammalian cells. An update.

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Groupe de Recherche en Thérapeutique Anticancéreuse, URA CNRS 1529 affiliée INSERM, Institut de Recherche Contre le Cancer, Faculté de Médecine, Université de Rennes I, France.


The uptake and release of the natural polyamines putrescine, spermidine and spermine by mammalian cells are integral parts of the systems that regulate the intracellular concentrations of these biogenic amines according to needs. Although a general feature of all tissues, polyamine uptake into intestinal mucosa cells is perhaps the most obvious polyamine transport pathway of physiological and pathophysiological importance. Mutant cell lines lacking the ability to take up polyamines from the environment are capable of releasing polyamines. This indicates that uptake and release are functions of two different transport systems. The isolation of a transporter gene from a mammalian cell line is still lacking. Overaccumulation of polyamines is controlled by release and by a feedback regulation system that involves de novo synthesis of antizyme, a well known protein that also regulates the activity of ornithine decarboxylase. Recent work has demonstrated that Ca(2+)-signalling pathways are also involved. Although there is consensus about the importance of polyamine uptake inhibitors in the treatment of neoplastic disorders, a practically useful uptake inhibitor is still missing. However, the attempts to target tumours, and to increase the selectivity of cytotoxic agents by combining them with the polyamine structure, are promising. New, less toxic and more selective anticancer drugs can be expected from this approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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