Nuclear aggregates of polyamines are supramolecular structures that play a crucial role in genomic DNA protection and conformation.

Research paper by Luciano L D'Agostino, Massimiliano M di Pietro, Aldo A Di Luccia

Indexed on: 28 Jul '05Published on: 28 Jul '05Published in: FEBS Journal


In a previous study we showed that natural polyamines interact in the nuclear environment with phosphate groups to form molecular aggregates [nuclear aggregates of polyamines (NAPs)] with estimated molecular mass values of 8000, 4800 and 1000 Da. NAPs were found to interact with genomic DNA, influence its conformation and interfere with the action of nucleases. In the present work, we demonstrated that NAPs protect naked genomic DNA from DNase I, whereas natural polyamines (spermine, spermidine and putrescine) fail to do so. In the context of DNA protection, NAPs induced noticeable changes in DNA conformation, which were revealed by temperature-dependent modifications of DNA electrophoretic properties. In addition, we presented, for NAPs, a structural model of polyamine aggregation into macropolycyclic compounds. We believe that NAPs are the sole biological forms by which polyamines efficiently protect genomic DNA against DNase I, while maintaining its dynamic structure.