This review considers the role of antizyme, of amino acids and of protein synthesis in the regulation of polyamine biosynthesis.

The ornithine decarboxylase of eukaryotic ceils and of Escherichia coli coli can be non-competitively inhibited by proteins, termed antizymes, which are induced by di-and poly- amines. Some antizymes have been purified to homogeneity and have been shown to be structurally unique to the cell of origin. Yet, the E. coli antizyme and the rat liver antizyme cross react and inhibit each other's biosynthetic decarboxylases. These results indicate that aspects of the control of polyamine biosynthesis have been highly conserved throughout evolution.

Evidence for the physiological role of the antizyme in mammalian cells rests upon its identification in normal uninduced cells, upon the inverse relationship that exists between antizyme and ornithine decarboxylase as well as upon the existence of the complex of ornithine decarboxylase and antizyme in vivo. Furthermore, the antizyme has been shown to be highly specific; its Keq for ornithine decarboxylase is 1.4 × 1011 M-1. In addition, mammalian ceils contain an anti-antizyme, a protein that specifically binds to the antizyme of an ornithine decarboxylase-antizyme complex and liberates free ornithine decarboxylase from the complex. In B. coli, in which polyamine biosynthesis is mediated both by ornithine decarboxylase and by arginine decarboxylase, three proteins (one acidic and two basic) have been purified, each of which inhibits both these enzymes. They do not inhibit the biodegradative ornithine and arginine decarboxylases nor lysine decarboxylase. The two basic inhibitors have been shown to correspond to the ribosomal proteins S20/L26 and L34, respectively. The relationship of the acidic antizyme to other known B. coli proteins remains to be determined.

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