Spermine synthase deficiency causes lysosomal dysfunction and oxidative stress in models of Snyder-Robinson syndrome

Chong Li, Jennifer M. Brazill, Sha Liu, Christofer Bello, Yi Zhu, Marie Morimoto, Lauren Cascio, Rini Pauly, Zoraida Diaz-Perez, May Christine V. Malicdan, Hongbo Wang, Luigi Boccuto, Charles E. Schwartz, William A. Gahl, Cornelius F. Boerkoel, R. Grace Zhai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Polyamines are tightly regulated polycations that are essential for life. Loss-of-function mutations in spermine synthase (SMS), a polyamine biosynthesis enzyme, cause Snyder-Robinson syndrome (SRS), an X-linked intellectual disability syndrome; however, little is known about the neuropathogenesis of the disease. Here we show that loss of dSms in Drosophila recapitulates the pathological polyamine imbalance of SRS and causes survival defects and synaptic degeneration. SMS deficiency leads to excessive spermidine catabolism, which generates toxic metabolites that cause lysosomal defects and oxidative stress. Consequently, autophagy-lysosome flux and mitochondrial function are compromised in the Drosophila nervous system and SRS patient cells. Importantly, oxidative stress caused by loss of SMS is suppressed by genetically or pharmacologically enhanced antioxidant activity. Our findings uncover some of the mechanisms underlying the pathological consequences of abnormal polyamine metabolism in the nervous system and may provide potential therapeutic targets for treating SRS and other polyamine-associated neurological disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1257
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Spermine synthase deficiency causes lysosomal dysfunction and oxidative stress in models of Snyder-Robinson syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this