The American journal of physiology

Polyamine depletion is associated with an increase in JunD/AP-1 activity in small intestinal crypt cells.

PMID 9950818


Activator protein 1 (AP-1) is a group of dimeric transcription factors composed of protooncogene (Jun and Fos) subunits that bind to a common DNA site, the AP-1 binding site. The proteins of c-Jun, JunB, and Fos are essential for initiation of the cell cycle. Conversely, the activation of the junD gene slows cell growth in some cell types. The current study tests the hypothesis that polyamines influence cell growth by altering the balance of positive and negative Jun/AP-1 activities in intestinal epithelial cells. Studies were conducted in the IEC-6 cell line derived from rat small intestinal crypt cells. Administration of alpha-difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), a specific inhibitor for polyamine synthesis, for 4 and 6 days completely depleted cellular polyamine levels, while AP-1 binding activity was significantly increased. Spermidine, when given together with DFMO, restored AP-1 binding activity toward normal. The increased AP-1 complexes in polyamine-deficient cells were dramatically supershifted by the anti-JunD antibody but not by antibodies against c-Jun, JunB, or Fos proteins. There were significant increases in JunD mRNA and protein in DFMO-treated cells, although expression of the c-fos, c-jun, and junB genes decreased. The increase in JunD/AP-1 activity in DFMO-treated cells was associated with a significant decrease in cell division. Exposure of control quiescent cells to 5% dialyzed serum increased c-Jun/AP-1 but not JunD/AP-1 activities. DFMO prevented the stimulation of c-Jun/AP-1 activity induced by 5% dialyzed serum. These results indicate that 1) polyamine depletion is associated with an increase in AP-1 binding activity and 2) the increase in AP-1 activity in the DFMO-treated cells was primarily contributed by an increase in the JunD/AP-1. These findings suggest that polyamines regulate cell growth at least partially by modulating the balance of positive and negative Jun/AP-1 activities in the intestinal mucosa.

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