1-Aminooxy-3-aminopropane was shown to be a potent competitive inhibitor (Ki = 3.2 nM) of homogenous mouse kidney ornithine decarboxylase, a potent irreversible inhibitor (Ki = 50 microM) of homogeneous liver adenosylmethionine decarboxylase and a potent competitive (Ki = 2.3 microM) of homogeneous bovine brain spermidine synthase. It did not inhibit homogeneous bovine brain spermine synthase and it did not serve as a substrate for spermidine synthase. The compound did not inhibit tyrosine aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase or aspartate aminotransferase, which are pyridoxal phosphate-containing enzymes like ornithine decarboxylase. The inactivation of adenosylmethionine decarboxylase was partially prevented by pyruvate, which is the coenzyme of adenosylmethionine decarboxylase, and by the substrate, adenosylmethionine. 1-Aminooxy-3-aminopropane at 0.5 mM concentration inhibited the growth of HL-60 promyelocytic leukemia cells and this inhibition was prevented by spermidine but not by putrescine.