[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: We have generated a hybrid transgenic mouse line overexpressing both ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) and spermidine/spermine N(1)-acetyltransferase (SSAT) under the control of the mouse metallothionein (MT) I promoter. In comparison with singly transgenic animals overexpressing SSAT, the doubly transgenic mice unexpectedly displayed much more striking signs of activated polyamine catabolism, as exemplified by a massive putrescine accumulation and an extreme reduction of hepatic spermidine and spermine pools. Interestingly, the profound depletion of the higher polyamines in the hybrid animals occurred in the presence of strikingly high ODC activity and tremendous putrescine accumulation. Polyamine catabolism in the doubly transgenic mice could be enhanced further by administration of zinc or the polyamine analogue N(1),N(11)-diethylnorspermine. In tracer experiments with [(14)C]spermidine we found that, in comparison with syngenic animals, both MT-ODC and MT-SSAT mice possessed an enhanced efflux mechanism for hepatic spermidine. In the MT-ODC animals this mechanism apparently operated in the absence of measurable SSAT activity. In the hybrid animals, spermidine efflux was stimulated further in comparison with the singly transgenic animals. In spite of a dramatic accumulation of putrescine and a profound reduction of the spermidine and spermine pools, only marginal changes were seen in the level of ODC antizyme. Even though the hybrid animals showed no liver or other organ-specific overt toxicity, except an early and permanent loss of hair, their life span was greatly reduced. These results can be understood from the perspective that catabolism is the overriding regulatory mechanism in the metabolism of the polyamines and that, even under conditions of severe depletion of spermidine and spermine, extremely high tissue pools of putrescine are not driven further to replenish the pools of the higher polyamines.
Full-text available · Article · Oct 2001 · Biochemical Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Polyamines are known to be essential for normal cell growth and differentiation. However, despite numerous studies, specific cellular functions of polyamines in general and individual polyamines in particular have remained only tentative, because of a lack of appropriate cell lines in which genes of polyamine-synthesizing enzymes have been disrupted by gene targeting. With the use of homologous recombination technique, we disrupted the gene encoding spermine synthase in mouse embryonic stem cells. The spermine synthase gene is located on X chromosome in mouse and, because the cells used in this study were of XY karyotype, a single targeting event was sufficient to result in null genotype. The targeted cells did not have any measurable spermine synthase activity and were totally devoid of the polyamine spermine. Spermine deficiency led to a substantial increase in spermidine content, but the total polyamine content was nearly unchanged. Despite the lack of spermine, these cells displayed a growth rate that was nearly similar to that of the parental cells and showed no overt morphological changes. However, the spermine-deficient cells were significantly more sensitive to the growth inhibition exerted by 2-difluoromethylornithine, an inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase. Similarly, methylglyoxal bis(guanylhydrazone), an inhibitor of S-adenosylmethionine decarboxylase, and diethylnorspermine, a polyamine analog, although exerting cytostatic growth inhibition on wild-type cells, were clearly cytotoxic to the spermine-deficient cells. The spermine-deficient cells were also much more sensitive to etoposide-induced DNA damage than their wild-type counterparts.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: We recently generated a transgenic mouse line overexpressing spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) gene under its own promoter. The tissue polyamine pools of these animals were profoundly affected and the mice were hairless from early age. We have now generated another transgenic-mouse line overexpressing the SSAT gene under the control of a heavy-metal-inducible mouse metallothionein I (MT) promoter. Even in the absence of heavy metals, changes in the tissue polyamine pools indicated that a marked activation of polyamine catabolism had occurred in the transgenic animals. As with the SSAT transgenic mice generated previously, the mice of the new line (MT-SSAT) suffered permanent hair loss, but this occurred considerably later than in the previous SSAT transgenic animals. Liver was the most affected tissue in the MT-SSAT transgenic animals, revealed by putrescine overaccumulation, significant decrease in spermidine concentration and >90% reduction in the spermine pool. Even though hepatic SSAT mRNA accumulated to massive levels in non-induced transgenic animals, SSAT activity was only moderately elevated. Administration of ZnSO4 further elevated the level of hepatic SSAT message and induced enzyme activity, but not more than 2- to 3-fold. Treatment of the transgenic animals with the polyamine analogue N1,N11-diethylnorspermine (DENSPM) resulted in an immense induction, more than 40000-fold, of enzyme activity in the liver of transgenic animals, and minor changes in the SSAT mRNA level. Liver spermidine and spermine pools were virtually depleted within 1-2 days in response to the treatment with the analogue. The treatment also resulted in a marked mortality (up to 60%) among the transgenic animals which showed ultrastructural changes in the liver, most notably mitochondrial swelling, one of the earliest signs of cell injury. These results indicated that, even without its own promoter, SSAT is powerfully induced by the polyamine analogue through a mechanism that appears to involve a direct translational and/or heterogenous nuclear RNA processing control. It is likewise significant that overexpression of SSAT renders the animals extremely sensitive to polyamine analogues.
Full-text available · Article · Apr 1999 · Biochemical Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: To study the expression of the bovine beta-lactoglobulin (BLG) gene we isolated the BLG gene from a genomic library and introduced it into murine germline. Bovine BLG gene including 2.8 kbp of 5' and 1.9 kbp of 3' flanking region was expressed efficiently and mammary gland-specifically in transgenic mice. Expression levels of BLG in milk exceeded 1 mg ml-1 in all four mouse lines analyzed. However, in two mouse lines originating from female founders BLG expression levels varied from less than 0.02 mg ml-1 up to 1 mg ml-1. In both lines originating from male founders all analyzed female mice excreted bovine BLG into their milk at a high and constant level of 1-2 mg ml-1. BLG expression was stable within individual mice in two successive lactations and the amount of BLG in the milk of mice correlated with the level of BLG mRNA in the mammary tissue. Methylation analyses of HpaII sites revealed that transgene copies were on average more methylated in mice which excreted low levels of BLG into their milk. Each mouse line had its own methylation pattern and, in addition, each mouse had more or less identical methylation patterns in mammary gland, brain and kidney DNA. Genomic sequencing of the BLG gene indicated that the promoter region (bases -162 to +391 with respect to the transcription start site) was heavily methylated except for distinct CpG sites that were only partially methylated both in transgenic mice and lactating cattle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: A recently generated transgenic mouse line having activated polyamine catabolism due to systemic overexpression of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) was used to isolate primary fetal fibroblasts as a means to further elucidate the cellular consequences of activated polyamine catabolism. Basal levels of SSAT activity and steady-state mRNA in the transgenic fibroblasts were about approximately 20- and approximately 40-fold higher than in non-transgenic fibroblasts. Consistent with activated polyamine catabolism, there was an overaccumulation of putrescine and N1-acetylspermidine and a decrease in spermidine and spermine pools. Treatment with the polyamine analogue N1,N11-diethylnorspermine (DENSPM) increased SSAT activity in the transgenic fibroblasts approximately 380-fold, whereas mRNA increased only approximately 3-fold, indicating post-mRNA regulation. SSAT activity in the nontransgenic fibroblasts increased approximately 200-fold. By Western blot, enzyme protein was found to increase approximately 46 times higher in the treated transgenic fibroblasts than non-transgenic fibroblasts: a value comparable to 36-fold differential in enzyme activity. With DENSPM treatment, spermidine pools were more rapidly depleted in the transgenic fibroblasts than in nontransgenic fibroblasts. Similarly, transgenic fibroblasts were much more sensitive to DENSPM-induced growth inhibition. This was not diminished by co-treatment with an inhibitor of polyamine oxidase, suggesting that growth inhibition was due to polyamine depletion per se as opposed to oxidative stress. Since the two fibroblasts were genetically identical except for the transgene, the various metabolic and growth response differences are directly attributable to overexpression of SSAT.
Full-text available · Article · Feb 1998 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: We have generated several transgenic mouse lines and rabbits expressing efficiently (up to 0.3 mg/ml in mice and up to 0.5 mg/ml in rabbits) human erythropoietin in their milk as bovine beta-lactoglobulin fusion protein. Human erythropoietin cDNA was inserted in frame into exon 5 of the bovine beta-lactoglobulin gene with a linker oligonucleotide encoding the cleavage site for bacterial IgA protease. RNA analysis performed on one lactating transgenic mouse and one transgenic rabbit revealed that the fusion gene was expressed almost exlusively in the mammary gland, although low amounts of transgene-derived RNA were detectable in salivary glands and uterus or in the kidney. The fusion protein was specifically cleaved with IgA protease. The erythropoietin part obtained upon digestion had a lower molecular mass than recombinant erythropoietin produced in Chinese hamster ovary cells. By deglycosylation analysis it was shown that the difference in size was due to a different type of glycosylation. Biological activity of the fusion protein, as determined by growth stimulation of TF-1 erythroleukemia cells, was less than 15% of that of human recombinant erythropoietin. Upon digestion of the fusion protein with IgA protease, biological activity comparable to that of the recombinant erythropoietin was recovered. Transgenic males and virgin females did not show signs of enhanced erythropoiesis, but lactating females expressing the transgene displayed transient increases in their hematocrit values.
Full-text available · Article · May 1997 · European Journal of Biochemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The generation is reported of transgenic mice expressing human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) or human erythropoietin (EPO) under the control of bovine alpha s1-casein regulatory sequences. GM-CSF expression was specific to the mammary gland, and levels of human GM-CSF in transgenic mouse milk were in the range of mg ml-1. The specific activity of the milk GM-CSF was similar to that of the recombinant protein produced in Escherichia coli, and the glycosylation-derived size heterogeneity corresponded to that of the native human protein. In spite of the identical bovine regulatory sequences of the fusion genes, the levels of human EPO in transgenic mouse milk were 10(3)-10(6) times lower than those of GM-CSF, ranging from 0.003 to 3 micrograms ml-1. There appeared to be a positive correlation between the amount of EPO in the milk of lactating females and blood haematocrit values. In view of this, other type of constructs should be used to achieve more efficient EPO expression and to circumvent concomitantly-occurring adverse effects. In contrast, the high-level production of recombinant GM-CSF, its resemblance to the native mammalian protein, and mild adverse consequences of transgene expression imply that the current construct could be used for generation of larger GM-CSF transgenic animals to produce this protein in quantities sufficient for therapeutic purposes.
Full-text available · Article · Feb 1997 · Transgenic Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: We have isolated and sequenced cDNA clones that encode human spermine synthase (EC 22.214.171.124). The total length of the sequenced cDNA was 1,612 nucleotides, containing an open reading frame encoding a polypeptide chain of 368 amino acids. All of the previously sequenced peptide fragments of human and bovine spermine synthase proteins could be located within the coding region derived from the cDNA. An unusual sequence of AATTAA apparently signaled the initiation of polyadenylation. Sequence comparisons between human spermine synthase and spermidine synthases from bacterial and mammalian sources revealed a nearly complete lack of similarity between the primary structures of these two enzymes catalyzing almost identical reactions. A modest similarity found was restricted to a relatively short peptide domain apparently involved in the binding of decarboxylated S-adenosylmethionine, the common substrate for both enzymes. The apparent lack of an overall similarity may indicate that spermine synthase, the enzyme found only in eukaryotes, and spermidine synthase with more universal distribution, although functionally closely related, have evolved separately.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: (1) Human myeloma cell line Sultan, resistant to 20 mM difluoro-methylornithine (DFMO) owing to ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) gene amplification, was grown in the absence of DFMO for a period of 10 months. The gene copy number and methylation status of the ODC gene were monitored after withdrawal of DFMO. Moreover, levels of ODC mRNA, immunoreactive ODC protein, ODC activity and polyamine levels were recorded recurrently during the course of the study. (2) The results revealed that ODC gene copy number started to decrease after 4 weeks growth without DFMO, to a final level of less than 30% of the original gene dosage. The methylation status of the ODC gene, however, remained almost unaltered, displaying only a modest increase in methylation after 10 months without DFMO. The amount of ODC message dropped very rapidly to 75% of the original value, then started to decrease in a gene copy-number-dependent manner. The amount of ODC protein closely followed the levels of mRNA during the study, whereas the ODC activity, after a transient increase during the first week, decreased to half of the original level after 4 weeks. Between 6 and 16 weeks ODC activity stabilized to a fifth of the original value and no more changes were detected during the subsequent period of observation. (3) Due to the grossly elevated ODC enzyme activity, levels of putrescine and spermidine first peaked and then stabilized at 6 weeks after DFMO withdrawal. The final spermidine level was comparable with that of the parental Sultan cell line with only one copy of active ODC gene. However, putrescine content was strikingly elevated, being stabilized to a level that was 20 times higher than in parental cells. Spermine concentration was practically unchanged during the study. (4) According to the results obtained in this study, the abnormal level of ODC expression in human myeloma cells is suppressed partially at the level of transcription or post-transcriptionally, but it is not due to increased methylation of the gene. The major regulatory mechanism to compensate for a highly elevated ODC expression was modulation of the enzyme activity. After 10 months without DFMO, the cells still displayed about 20 times higher ODC activity and putrescine concentration than the myeloma cell line with a single copy of the ODC gene. They did not, however, show any signs of growth retardation or other features different from the parental cells.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
Full-text available · Article · Sep 1995 · Biochemical Journal
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Rats were fed toxic levels of methionine with or without simultaneous dietary supplements of glycine and serine. Feed intake, growth rate, and metabolite concentrations in intestine, plasma, liver, skeletal muscle, and kidneys were monitored. Both toxic amounts of methionine and supplemental glycine and serine affected the tissue distribution of several amino acids resulting in similar, opposite, and diet-specific effects on the parameters studied. These changes were considered to be normal responses of amino acid metabolism to diet and to reflect metabolite flows between tissues. The feeding of toxic levels of methionine resulted in the accumulation of methionine, taurine, and glutathione in all tissues measured, but caused marked accumulation of S-adenosylmethionine and its catabolites only in liver. Hepatic accumulation of S-adenosylmethionine was accompanied by 40% stimulation of methionine adenosyltransferase and 40% repression of spermine synthase over a 2-week period. Simultaneous dietary supplements of glycine and serine combined with toxic levels of methionine markedly stimulated hepatic methionine catabolism. As a result, tissue distribution of methionine and glutathione returned close to normal in all tissues measured and accumulation of hepatic S-adenosylmethionine and its catabolites was prevented. Concentrations of taurine in liver, blood, and kidneys were further elevated, suggesting increased conversion of methionine to taurine followed by urinary excretion. These changes were accompanied by normalization of the above enzyme activities and the absence of symptoms of methionine toxicity. It was concluded that methionine toxicity is likely to be linked to hepatic accumulation of S-adenosylmethionine, resulting in liver dysfunction probably due to nonenzymatic methylation of liver macromolecules. Accumulation of tissue glutathione may also contribute to toxicity.
Article · Mar 1993 · Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics