Studies are presented on the influence of polyamines on prostatic chromatin- and non-histone-protein-associated protein kinase reactions involving both exogenous and endogenous substrates. The activities toward the model acidic protein substrate, dephosphophosvitin, were maximal at 160–200mM-NaCl (or -KCl or -NH4Cl). Under these conditions, spermidine and spermine added in concentrations up to 2mM were essentially without effect. However, without addition of NaCl to the medium, marked stimulation of these reactions was elicited by these polyamines at 1–2mM concentrations. The stimulatory effects were not due to non-specific changes in the ionic strength or to substitution of spermine for Mg2+, as maximal stimulation by 1 mM-spermine was observed only at optimal (2–4mM) Mg2+ concentrations. Qualitatively similar effects of polyamines were observed with enzyme preparations from the prostates of castrated rats, and with chromatin and non-histone-protein preparations from other tissues besides ventral prostate. When phosphorylation of endogenous non-histone proteins of the chromatin was measured, spermine stimulated both the initial rates and the final extent of transphosphorylation, even in the presence of optimal concentration of NaCl. By contrast, spermine or spermidine had no effect on the chromatin- and non-histone-protein-associated protein kinase reactions determined with lysine-rich histones as substrates. Chemically NN-dimethylated dephosphophosvitin was a less active substrate for the chromatin-associated protein kinase, but its phosphorylation was more markedly stimulated by spermine in comparison with unmodified dephosphophosvitin. These observations hint that the polyamine stimulations of the various protein kinase reactions may be due to effects on the conformations of the non-histone protein substrates rather than on the kinases themselves.

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