Spermidine/spermine N(1)-acetyltransferase 1 (SSAT1) is a key enzyme that catalyzes the catabolism of polyamines. SSAT1 is a very important enzyme because it not only maintains the homeostasis of polyamines but also is involved in many physiological and pathological events. As such, a rapid assay of SSAT1 activity is valuable in drug screening and clinical diagnostics. Here, we report a novel colorimetric assay for monitoring SSAT1 activity in zebrafish (zSSAT1). In comparison with the available SSAT1 assays, this new method is cost-effective and simple. The optimal zSSAT1 activity was obtained below 55°C in a mild alkaline environment. The K(m) values of zSSAT1 for spermidine and spermine are 55 and 182 μM, respectively, whereas putrescine is not a good substrate for zSSAT1. In addition to enzyme kinetic studies, the colorimetric assay was also used to detect the cellular activity of SSAT1. Thus, the current method is a reliable assay for determining SSAT1 activity with many potential applications in medical biology.
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