Encyclopedia of Cancer

Living Edition
| Editors: Manfred Schwab


  • Gaetano Marverti
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27841-9_4659-12


The polyamines putrescine (1,4-diaminobutane), spermidine (1,8-diamino-4-azaoctane), and spermine (1,12-diamino-4,9-diazadodecane, 3) are ubiquitous polycationic compounds that are found in significant amounts in nearly every prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell type. Spermidine and spermine primarily exist in aqueous solution at pH 7.4 as fully protonated polycations, thus able to interact with negatively charged molecules, such as DNA, RNA, proteins, or phospholipids. Polyamines are widely distributed in nature and are known to be required in micromolar to millimolar concentrations to support a wide variety of cellular functions, mostly linked with cell growth, survival, and proliferation. Polyamines are important players in plant growth, stress, longevity, and disease resistance, but they are also involved in diseases, for example, Alzheimer or infectious diseases. The main research area for the involvement of polyamines in diseases is cancer, as high levels of polyamines are...


Adenomatous Polyposis Coli Polyamine Metabolism Polyamine Level Polyamine Biosynthesis Polyamine Synthesis 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical Sciences, Metabolic and Neural SciencesUniversity of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly