(R,R)-1,12-Dimethylspermine can mitigate abnormal spermidine accumulation in Snyder-Robinson syndrome

Tracy Murray Stewart, Maxim Khomutov, Jackson R. Foley, Xin Guo, Cassandra E. Holbert, Tiffany T. Dunston, Charles E. Schwartz, Kathleen Gabrielson, Alexey Khomutov, Robert A. Casero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Snyder-Robinson syndrome (SRS) is an X-linked intellectual disability syndrome caused by a loss-of-function mutation in the spermine synthase (SMS) gene. Primarily affecting males, the main manifestations of SRS include osteoporosis, hypotonic stature, seizures, cognitive impairment, and developmental delay. Because there is no cure for SRS, treatment plans focus on alleviating symptoms rather than targeting the underlying causes. Biochemically, the cells of individuals with SRS accumulate excess spermidine, whereas spermine levels are reduced. We recently demonstrated that SRS patient-derived lymphoblastoid cells are capable of transporting exogenous spermine and its analogs into the cell and, in response, decreasing excess spermidine pools to normal levels. However, dietary supplementation of spermine does not appear to benefit SRS patients or mouse models. Here, we investigated the potential use of a metabolically stable spermine mimetic, (R,R)-1,12-dimethylspermine (Me2SPM), to reduce the intracellular spermidine pools of SRS patient-derived cells. Me2SPM can functionally substitute for the native polyamines in supporting cell growth while stimulating polyamine homeostatic control mechanisms. We found that both lymphoblasts and fibroblasts from SRS patients can accumulate Me2SPM, resulting in significantly decreased spermidine levels with no adverse effects on growth. Me2SPM administration to mice revealed that Me2SPM significantly decreases spermidine levels in multiple tissues. Importantly, Me2SPM was detectable in brain tissue, the organ most affected in SRS, and was associated with changes in polyamine metabolic enzymes. These findings indicate that the (R,R)-diastereomer of 1,12-Me2SPM represents a promising lead compound in developing a treatment aimed at targeting the molecular mechanisms underlying SRS pathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3247-3256
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 6 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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