Polyamine analogue induction of the p53-p21(WAF1/CIP1)-Rb pathway and G1 Ar in human melanoma cells

Debora L. Kramer, Slavoljub Vujcic, Paula Diegelman, James Alderfer, John T. Miller, Jennifer D. Black, Raymond J. Bergeron, Carl W. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Although polyamines are well recognized for their critical involvement in cell growth, the cell cycle specificity of this requirement has not yet been characterized with respect to the newly delineated regulatory pathways. We recently reported that polyamine analogues having close structural and functional similarities to the natural polyamines produce a distinct G1 and G2-M cell arrest in MALME-3M human melanoma cells. To determine a molecular basis for this observation, we examined the effects of N1,N11- diethylnorspermine on cell cycle regulatory proteins associated with G1 arrest. The analogue is known to deplete polyamine pools by suppressing biosynthetic enzymes and potently inducing the polyamine catabolic enzyme spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase. Treatment of MALME-3M cells with 10 μM N1,N11-diethylnorspermine caused an increase in hypophosphorylated Rb, which correlated temporally with the onset of G1 arrest of 16-24 h. Rb hypophosphorylation was preceded by an increase in wild-type p53 (~10-fold at maximum) and a concomitant increase in the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, p21(WAF1/CIP1) (p21; ~5-fold at maximum). Another cyclin- dependent kinase inhibitor, p27(KIP1), and cyclin D1 increased slightly, whereas proliferating cell nuclear antigen and p130 remained unchanged. Induction of p21 protein was accompanied by an increase in p21 mRNA, whereas induction of p53 protein was not, suggesting transcriptional activation of the former and posttranscriptional regulation of the latter. SK-MEL-28 human melanoma cells, which contain a mutated p53, failed to induce p53 or p21 and did not arrest in G1. Rather, these cells rapidly underwent programmed cell death within 48 h. Overall, these findings provide the first indication of the cell cycle regulatory pathways by which polyamine antagonists such as analogues might inhibit growth in cells containing wild-type p53 and further suggest a mechanistic basis for differential cellular responses to these agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1278-1286
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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