bims-polyam Biomed News
on Polyamines
Issue of 2024‒03‒24
three papers selected by
Sebastian J. Hofer, University of Graz

  1. Nat Commun. 2024 Mar 19. 15(1): 2461
      Targeting ferroptosis, an iron-dependent form of regulated cell death triggered by the lethal overload of lipid peroxides, in cancer therapy is impeded by our limited understanding of the intersection of tumour's metabolic feature and ferroptosis vulnerability. In the present study, arginine is identified as a ferroptotic promoter using a metabolites library. This effect is mainly achieved through arginine's conversion to polyamines, which exerts their potent ferroptosis-promoting property in an H2O2-dependent manner. Notably, the expression of ornithine decarboxylase 1 (ODC1), the critical enzyme catalysing polyamine synthesis, is significantly activated by the ferroptosis signal--iron overload--through WNT/MYC signalling, as well as the subsequent elevated polyamine synthesis, thus forming a ferroptosis-iron overload-WNT/MYC-ODC1-polyamine-H2O2 positive feedback loop that amplifies ferroptosis. Meanwhile, we notice that ferroptotic cells release enhanced polyamine-containing extracellular vesicles into the microenvironment, thereby further sensitizing neighbouring cells to ferroptosis and accelerating the "spread" of ferroptosis in the tumour region. Besides, polyamine supplementation also sensitizes cancer cells or xenograft tumours to radiotherapy or chemotherapy through inducing ferroptosis. Considering that cancer cells are often characterized by elevated intracellular polyamine pools, our results indicate that polyamine metabolism exposes a targetable vulnerability to ferroptosis and represents an exciting opportunity for therapeutic strategies for cancer.
  2. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2024 Mar 26. 121(13): e2319429121
      Polyamines are a class of small polycationic alkylamines that play essential roles in both normal and cancer cell growth. Polyamine metabolism is frequently dysregulated and considered a therapeutic target in cancer. However, targeting polyamine metabolism as monotherapy often exhibits limited efficacy, and the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here we report that activation of polyamine catabolism promotes glutamine metabolism, leading to a targetable vulnerability in lung cancer. Genetic and pharmacological activation of spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase 1 (SAT1), the rate-limiting enzyme of polyamine catabolism, enhances the conversion of glutamine to glutamate and subsequent glutathione (GSH) synthesis. This metabolic rewiring ameliorates oxidative stress to support lung cancer cell proliferation and survival. Simultaneous glutamine limitation and SAT1 activation result in ROS accumulation, growth inhibition, and cell death. Importantly, pharmacological inhibition of either one of glutamine transport, glutaminase, or GSH biosynthesis in combination with activation of polyamine catabolism synergistically suppresses lung cancer cell growth and xenograft tumor formation. Together, this study unveils a previously unappreciated functional interconnection between polyamine catabolism and glutamine metabolism and establishes cotargeting strategies as potential therapeutics in lung cancer.
    Keywords:  SAT1; glutamine metabolism; lung cancer; polyamine catabolism
  3. Sci Adv. 2024 Mar 22. 10(12): eadj4387
      Much is known about molecular mechanisms by which animals detect pathogenic microbes, but how animals sense beneficial microbes remains poorly understood. The roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans is a microbivore that must distinguish nutritive microbes from pathogens. We characterized a neural circuit used by C. elegans to rapidly discriminate between nutritive bacteria and pathogens. Distinct sensory neuron populations responded to chemical cues from nutritive Escherichia coli and pathogenic Enterococcus faecalis, and these neural signals are decoded by downstream AIB interneurons. The polyamine metabolites cadaverine, putrescine, and spermidine produced by E. coli activate this neural circuit and elicit positive chemotaxis. Our study shows how polyamine odorants can be sensed by animals as proxies for microbe identity and suggests that, hence, polyamines might have widespread roles brokering host-microbe interactions.