Coupling of the polyamine and iron metabolism pathways in the regulation of proliferation: Mechanistic links to alterations in key polyamine biosynthetic and catabolic enzymes

Darius J.R. Lane, Dong Hun Bae, Aritee R. Siafakas, Yohan Suryo Rahmanto, Lina Al-Akra, Patric J. Jansson, Robert A Casero, Des R. Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Many biological processes result from the coupling of metabolic pathways. Considering this, proliferation depends on adequate iron and polyamines, and although iron-depletion impairs proliferation, the metabolic link between iron and polyamine metabolism has never been thoroughly investigated. This is important to decipher, as many disease states demonstrate co-dysregulation of iron and polyamine metabolism. Herein, for the first time, we demonstrate that cellular iron levels robustly regulate 13 polyamine pathway proteins. Seven of these were regulated in a conserved manner by iron-depletion across different cell-types, with four proteins being down-regulated (i.e., acireductone dioxygenase 1 [ADI1], methionine adenosyltransferase 2α [MAT2α], Antizyme and polyamine oxidase [PAOX]) and three proteins being up-regulated (i.e., S-adenosyl methionine decarboxylase [AMD1], Antizyme inhibitor 1 [AZIN1] and spermidine/spermine-N1-acetyltransferase 1 [SAT1]). Depletion of iron also markedly decreased polyamine pools (i.e., spermidine and/or spermine, but not putrescine). Accordingly, iron-depletion also decreased S-adenosylmethionine that is essential for spermidine/spermine biosynthesis. Iron-depletion additionally reduced 3H-spermidine uptake in direct agreement with the lowered levels of the polyamine importer, SLC22A16. Regarding mechanism, the “reprogramming” of polyamine metabolism by iron-depletion is consistent with the down-regulation of ADI1 and MAT2α and the up-regulation of SAT1. Moreover, changes in ADI1 (biosynthetic) and SAT1 (catabolic) partially depended on the iron-regulated changes in c-Myc and/or p53. The ability of iron chelators to inhibit proliferation was rescuable by putrescine and spermidine, and under some conditions by spermine. Collectively, iron and polyamine metabolism are intimately coupled, which has significant ramifications for understanding the integrated role of iron and polyamine metabolism in proliferation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Acireductone dioxygenase 1 (ADI1)
  • Iron
  • Ornithine decarboxylase
  • Polyamines
  • S-adenosylmethionine (AdoMet)
  • Spermidine/spermine-N-acetyltransferase 1 (SAT1)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology

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