Polyamines are naturally occurring intracellular polycations that are essential for viability and growth of eukaryotes. Dysregulation of polyamine metabolism is a hallmark of cancer and the carcinogenic process, and consequently development of polyamine analogues has emerged as a viable strategy for therapeutic intervention. Previously, we showed that the naturally occurring polyamines spermidine and spermine were quite effective at inducing the oligomerization of nucleosomal arrays in vitro, suggesting that polyamines may play a key role in regulating higher order chromatin structures in vivo. Here, we analyse the ability of a number of synthetic polyamine analogues to potentiate formation of higher order chromatin structures in vitro. We find that a class of long-chain polyamines called oligoamines are potent inducers of nucleosomal array oligomerization in vitro and that these same polyamine analogues rapidly block yeast cell growth.

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