Amino Acids

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 367–372 | Cite as

Unique polyamines produced by an extreme thermophile, Thermus thermophilus

  • T. Oshima
Review Article


Recent research progress on polyamines in extreme thermophiles is reviewed. Extreme thermophiles produce two types of unique polyamines; one is longer polyamines such as caldopentamine and caldohexamine, and the other is branched polyamines such as tetrakis(3-aminopropyl)ammonium. The protein synthesis catalyzed by a cell-free extract of Thermus thermophilus, an extreme thermophile, required the presence of a polyamine and the highest activity was found in the presence of tetrakis(3-aminopropyl)ammonium. In vitro experiments, longer polyamines efficiently stabilized double stranded nucleic acids and a branched polyamine, tetrakis(3-aminropyl)ammonium, stabilized stem-and-loop structures. In T. thermophilus, polyamines are synthesized from arginine by a new metabolic pathway; arginine is converted to agmatine and then agmatine is aminopropylated to N1-aminopropylagmatine which is converted to spermidine by an enzyme coded by a gene homologous to speB (a gene for agmatinase). In this new pathway spermidine is not synthesized from putrescine. Reverse genetic studies indicated that the unique polyamines are synthesized from spermidine.

Keywords: Archaeon – Caldopentamine – Cell-free protein synthesis – Hyperthermophile – Tetrakis(3-aminopropyl)ammonium 



polyuridilic acid


gene coding for arginine decarboxylase


gene coding for agmatine ureohydrolase


gene coding for S-adenosylmethinine decarboxylase


gene coding for spermidine synthase or spermine synthase


gene coding for ornithine decarboxylase


melting temperature


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Oshima
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Environmental MicrobiologyTokyoJapan

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