Article

Tissue-specific alternative splicing of spermidine/spermine N (1)-acetyltransferase

A. I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences, Biocenter Kuopio, University of Eastern Finland, Yliopistonranta 1E, 70210, Kuopio, Finland.
Amino Acids (Impact Factor: 3.65). 08/2011; 42(2-3):485-93. DOI: 10.1007/s00726-011-1027-7
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The polyamines, spermidine and spermine, are abundant organic cations participating in many important cellular processes. We have previously shown that the rate-limiting enzyme of polyamine catabolism, spermidine/spermine N(1)-acetyltransferase (SSAT), has an alternative mRNA splice variant (SSATX) which undergoes degradation via nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) pathway, and that the intracellular polyamine level regulates the ratio of the SSATX and SSAT splice variants. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of SSATX level manipulation on SSAT activity in cell culture, and to examine the in vivo expression levels of SSATX and SSAT mRNA. Silencing SSATX expression with small interfering RNA led to increased SSAT activity. Furthermore, transfection of SSAT-deficient cells with mutated SSAT gene (which produced only trace amount of SSATX) yielded higher SSAT activity than transfection with natural SSAT gene (which produced both SSAT and SSATX). Blocking NMD in vivo by protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide resulted in accumulation of SSATX mRNA, and like in cell culture, the increase of SSATX mRNA was prevented by administration of polyamine analog N(1),N(11)-diethylnorspermine. Although SSATX/total SSAT mRNA ratio did not correlate with polyamine levels or SSAT activity between different tissues, increasing polyamine levels in a given tissue led to decreased SSATX/total SSAT mRNA ratio and vice versa. Taken together, the regulated unproductive splicing and translation of SSAT has a physiological relevance in modulating SSAT activity. However, in addition to polyamine level there seems to be additional factors regulating tissue-specific alternative splicing of SSAT.

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