Definition of spermine in US English:



  • A deliquescent compound which acts to stabilize various components of living cells and is widely distributed in living and decaying tissues.

    A polyamine; chemical formula: (H₂N(CH₂)₃NH(CH₂)₂)₂

    • ‘The flexible polyamine spermine displays a high presence in the minor groove but does not form long-lived and structurally defined complexes.’
    • ‘This may be related to the role of arginine as a biochemical precursor in the synthesis of putrescine, spermidine, and spermine, which are believed to be essential to sperm motility.’
    • ‘The binding model displayed in Fig.8 A has been observed from crystallographic studies on B-DNA dodecamers stabilized with spermine.’
    • ‘By comparison, the tetra-amine spermine only binds weakly to peptide carboxylate groups, and not to the a-helical conformation.’
    • ‘Because of their positive charges, putrescine, spermidine, and spermine show a high affinity with the acidic constituents of the cell (RNA, DNA, ATP, acidic proteins, phospholipids, etc.).’


Late 19th century: so called because first found in sperm.