Cell-cycle progression is a one-way journey where the cell grows in size to be able to divide into two equally sized daughter cells. The cell cycle is divided into distinct consecutive phases defined as G(1) (first gap), S (synthesis), G(2) (second gap) and M (mitosis). A non-proliferating cell, which has retained the ability to enter the cell cycle when it receives appropriate signals, is in G(0) phase, and cycling cells that do not receive proper signals leave the cell cycle from G(1) into G(0). One of the major events of the cell cycle is the duplication of DNA during S-phase. A group of molecules that are important for proper cell-cycle progression is the polyamines. Polyamine biosynthesis occurs cyclically during the cell cycle with peaks in activity in conjunction with the G(1)/S transition and at the end of S-phase and during G(2)-phase. The negative regulator of polyamine biosynthesis, antizyme, shows an inverse activity compared with the polyamine biosynthetic activity. The levels of the polyamines, putrescine, spermidine and spermine, double during the cell cycle and show a certain degree of cyclic variation in accordance with the biosynthetic activity. When cells in G(0)/G(1) -phase are seeded in the presence of compounds that prevent the cell-cycle-related increases in the polyamine pools, the S-phase of the first cell cycle is prolonged, whereas the other phases are initially unaffected. The results point to an important role for polyamines with regard to the ability of the cell to attain optimal rates of DNA replication.
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