HeLa cells depleted of polyamines by treatment with alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), methylglyoxal bis(guanylhydrazone) (MGBG) or a combination of the two, were examined for sensitivity to micrococcal nuclease, DNAase I and DNAase II. The degrees of chromatin accessibility to DNAase I and II appeared enhanced somewhat in all three treatment groups, and the released digestion products differed from those in non-depleted cells. DNA released from MGBG- and DFMO/MGBG-treated cells by DNAase II digestion was enriched 4-7-fold for Mg2+-soluble species relative to controls. DNA released by micrococcal nuclease digestion from all three treatment groups was characterized as consisting of higher-order nucleosomal structure than was DNA released from untreated cells. At least some of the altered chromatin properties were abolished by a brief treatment of cells with polyamines, notably spermine. These studies provide the first demonstration in vivo of altered chromatin structure in cells treated with inhibitors of polyamine biosynthesis.
In this study we tested the hypothesis that stimulation of univalent-cation fluxes which follow the addition of growth factors are required for cell transition through the G1-phase of the cell cycle. The effect of two drugs, amiloride and bumetanide, were tested on exit of BALB/c 3T3 cells from G0/G1-phase and entry into S-phase (DNA synthesis). Amiloride, an inhibitor of the Na+/H+ antiport, only partially inhibited DNA synthesis induced by serum. Bumetanide, an inhibitor of the Na+/K+ co-transport, only slightly suppressed DNA synthesis by itself, but when added together with amiloride completely blocked cell transition through G1 and entry into S-phase. Similar inhibitory effects of the two drugs were found on the induction of ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) (a marker of mid-G1-phase) in synchronized cells stimulated by either partially purified fibroblast growth factor (FGF) or serum. To test this hypothesis further, cells arrested in G0/G1 were stimulated by serum, insulin or FGF. All induced similar elevations of cellular K+ content during the early G1-phase of the cell cycle. However, serum and FGF, but not insulin, released the cells from the G0/G1 arrest, as measured by ODC enzyme induction. This result implies that the increase in cellular K+ content may be necessary but not sufficient for induction of early events during the G1-phase. The synergistic inhibitory effects of amiloride and bumetanide on the two activities stimulated by serum growth factors, namely ODC induction (mid-G1) and thymidine incorporation into DNA (S-phase), suggested that the amiloride-sensitive Na+/H+ antiport system together with the bumetanide-sensitive Na+/K+ transporter play a role in the mitogenic signal.