The Polyamine Regulator AMD1 Upregulates Spermine Levels to Drive Epidermal Differentiation

Anisa B. Rahim, Hui Kheng Lim, Christina Yan Ru Tan, Li Jia, Vonny Ivon Leo, Takeshi Uemura, Jonathan Hardman-Smart, John E.A. Common, Thiam Chye Lim, Sophie Bellanger, Ralf Paus, Kazuei Igarashi, Henry Yang, Leah A. Vardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Maintaining tissue homeostasis depends on a balance between cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Within the epidermis, the levels of the polyamines putrescine, spermidine, and spermine are altered in many different skin conditions, yet their role in epidermal tissue homeostasis is poorly understood. We identify the polyamine regulator, Adenosylmethionine decarboxylase 1 (AMD1), as a crucial regulator of keratinocyte (KC) differentiation. AMD1 protein is upregulated on differentiation and is highly expressed in the suprabasal layers of the human epidermis. During KC differentiation, elevated AMD1 promotes decreased putrescine and increased spermine levels. Knockdown or inhibition of AMD1 results in reduced spermine levels and inhibition of KC differentiation. Supplementing AMD1-knockdown KCs with exogenous spermidine or spermine rescued aberrant differentiation. We show that the polyamine shift is critical for the regulation of key transcription factors and signaling proteins that drive KC differentiation, including KLF4 and ZNF750. These findings show that human KCs use controlled changes in polyamine levels to modulate gene expression to drive cellular behavior changes. Modulation of polyamine levels during epidermal differentiation could impact skin barrier formation or can be used in the treatment of hyperproliferative skin disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2178-2188.e6
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The Polyamine Regulator AMD1 Upregulates Spermine Levels to Drive Epidermal Differentiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this