Author(s): Marchion DC, Bicaku E, Daud AI, Sullivan DM, Munster PN
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Abstract Histone acetylation and deacetylation are crucial in the regulation of gene expression. Dynamic changes in gene expression may affect chromatin structure and, consequently, the interaction of chromatin with regulatory factors. In this study, the effects of the antiseizure drug valproic acid (VPA) on the expression of genes that regulate the structure of chromatin and the access of macromolecules to the DNA were investigated. Exposure of breast cancer cells to VPA resulted in rapid dose-dependent hyperacetylation of the histones H3 and H4. VPA further induced a depletion of several members of the structural maintenance of chromatin (SMC) proteins, SMC-associated proteins, DNA methyltransferase, and heterochromatin proteins. Down-regulation of these proteins was associated with chromatin decondensation. The observed alterations of chromatin structure correlated with enhanced sensitivity of DNA to nucleases and increased interaction of DNA with intercalating agents. VPA-induced chromatin decondensation led to a sequence-specific potentiation of DNA-damaging agents in cell culture and xenograft models. Modulation of heterochromatin maintenance proteins was not a direct, but a downstream, effect of histone acetylation. The effects on the chromatin structure were reversible upon drug withdrawal, but obligatory for the potentiation of DNA-damaging agents. In addition to their antitumor activity as single agents, the chromatin decondensation induced by histone deacetylase inhibitors may enhance the efficacy of cytotoxic agents that act by targeting DNA. The proposed mechanism of action suggests an effect of drug sequencing on the antitumor activity of these drugs.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Medicinal Chemistry