, Volume 228, Issue 3, pp 367–381 | Cite as

Polyamines: essential factors for growth and survival



Polyamines are low molecular weight, aliphatic polycations found in the cells of all living organisms. Due to their positive charges, polyamines bind to macromolecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. They are involved in diverse processes, including regulation of gene expression, translation, cell proliferation, modulation of cell signalling, and membrane stabilization. They also modulate the activities of certain sets of ion channels. Because of these multifaceted functions, the homeostasis of polyamines is crucial and is ensured through regulation of biosynthesis, catabolism, and transport. Through isolation of the genes involved in plant polyamine biosynthesis and loss-of-function experiments on the corresponding genes, their essentiality for growth is reconfirmed. Polyamines are also involved in stress responses and diseases in plants, indicating their importance for plant survival. This review summarizes the recent advances in polyamine research in the field of plant science compared with the knowledge obtained in microorganisms and animal systems.


Polyamine Metabolism Homeostasis Ion channel Growth Survival 



We apologize to the researchers whose works are not cited in this review due to space limitation. We are grateful to our past and present colleagues, especially Y. Uehara, Y. Mitsuya and K. Yamaguchi. Drs. A. Mator and T. Moriguchi are appreciated for providing their preprints. Dr. Matthew R. Shenton is acknowledged for critically reading the manuscript. Our research was partly supported by Grants-in-Aid from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to TK (19658039) and to YT (19780002), and grants from Saito Gratitude Foundation to CT and the Sumitomo Foundation to YT. We deeply acknowledge the remarks of Dr. D. Scheel and the anonymous reviewers who contributed to improving this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Kusano
    • 1
  • T. Berberich
    • 1
  • C. Tateda
    • 1
  • Y. Takahashi
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Life SciencesTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan

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