Arginase and Arginine Decarboxylase – Where Do the Putative Gate Keepers of Polyamine Synthesis Reside in Rat BrainReport as inadecuate

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Polyamines are important regulators of basal cellular functions but also subserve highly specific tasks in the mammalian brain. With this respect, polyamines and the synthesizing and degrading enzymes are clearly differentially distributed in neurons versus glial cells and also in different brain areas. The synthesis of the diamine putrescine may be driven via two different pathways. In the -classical- pathway urea and carbon dioxide are removed from arginine by arginase and ornithine decarboxylase. The alternative pathway, first removing carbon dioxide by arginine decarboxlyase and then urea by agmatinase, may serve the same purpose. Furthermore, the intermediate product of the alternative pathway, agmatine, is an endogenous ligand for imidazoline receptors and may serve as a neurotransmitter. In order to evaluate and compare the expression patterns of the two gate keeper enzymes arginase and arginine decarboxylase, we generated polyclonal, monospecific antibodies against arginase-1 and arginine decarboxylase. Using these tools, we immunocytochemically screened the rat brain and compared the expression patterns of both enzymes in several brain areas on the regional, cellular and subcellular level. In contrast to other enzymes of the polyamine pathway, arginine decarboxylase and arginase are both constitutively and widely expressed in rat brain neurons. In cerebral cortex and hippocampus, principal neurons and putative interneurons were clearly labeled for both enzymes. Labeling, however, was strikingly different in these neurons with respect to the subcellular localization of the enzymes. While with antibodies against arginine decarboxylase the immunosignal was distributed throughout the cytoplasm, arginase-like immunoreactivity was preferentially localized to Golgi stacks. Given the apparent congruence of arginase and arginine decarboxylase distribution with respect to certain cell populations, it seems likely that the synthesis of agmatine rather than putrescine may be the main purpose of the alternative pathway of polyamine synthesis, while the classical pathway supplies putrescine and spermidine-spermine in these neurons.

Author: Daniela Peters , Jana Berger , Kristina Langnaese, Christian Derst, Vince I. Madai, Michael Krauss, Klaus-Dieter Fischer, Rüdige



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