Arginine methylation is a common post-translational modification that is crucial in modulating gene expression at multiple critical levels. The arginine methyltransferases (PRMTs) are envisaged as promising druggable targets but their role in physiological and pathological pathways is far from being clear, due to the limited number of modulators reported to date. In this effort, enzyme activators can be invaluable tools useful as gain-of-function reagents to interrogate the biological roles in cells and in vivo of PRMTs. Yet the identification of such molecules is rarely pursued. Herein we describe a series of aryl ureido acetamido indole carboxylates (dubbed “uracandolates”), able to increase the methylation of histone- (H3) or non-histone (polyadenylate-binding protein 1, PABP1) substrates induced by coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), both in in vitro and cellular settings. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of compounds acting as CARM1 activators.
CARM1 activator; PRMT inhibitors; arginine methyltransferase; histone modifying enzyme; epigenetics
Recent statistics indicate that the human population is ageing rapidly. Healthy, but also diseased, elderly people are increasing. This trend is particularly evident in Western countries, where healthier living conditions and better cures are available. To understand the process leading to age-associated alterations is, therefore, of the highest relevance for the development of new treatments for age-associated diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer and cardiovascular accidents. Mechanistically, it is well accepted that the accumulation of intracellular damage determined by reactive oxygen species (ROS) might orchestrate the progressive loss of control over biological homeostasis and the functional impairment typical of aged tissues. Here, we review how epigenetics takes part in the control of stress stimuli and the mechanisms of ageing physiology and physiopathology. Alteration of epigenetic enzyme activity, histone modifications and DNA-methylation is, in fact, typically associated with the ageing process. Specifically, ageing presents peculiar epigenetic markers that, taken altogether, form the still ill-defined “ageing epigenome”. The comprehension of mechanisms and pathways leading to epigenetic modifications associated with ageing may help the development of anti-ageing therapies.
epigenetics; ageing; oxidative stress; cardiovascular; endothelial; cardiac
It is well established that the activity of chromatin-modifying enzymes is crucial for regulating gene expression associated with hippocampal-dependent memories. However, very little is known about how these epigenetic mechanisms influence the formation of cortically-dependent memory, particularly when there is competition between opposing memory traces such as that which occurs during the acquisition and extinction of conditioned fear. Here we demonstrate, in C57/Bl6 mice, that the activity of p300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF) within the infralimbic prefrontal cortex is required for long-term potentiation and is necessary for the formation of memory associated with fear extinction, but not for fear acquisition. Further, systemic administration of the PCAF activator SPV106 enhances memory for fear extinction and prevents fear renewal. The selective influence of PCAF on fear extinction is mediated, in part, by a transient recruitment of the repressive transcription factor ATF4 to the promoter of the immediate early gene zif268, which competitively inhibits its expression. Thus, within the context of fear extinction, PCAF functions as a transcriptional co-activator, which may facilitate the formation of memory for fear extinction by interfering with reconsolidation of the original memory trace.
PCAF; fear extinction; infralimbic prefrontal cortex; ATF4; zif268; memory; H3-CoA-20-Tat; SPV106
BIX-01294 and its analogs were originally identified and subsequently designed as potent inhibitors against histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methyltransferases G9a and G9a-like protein (GLP). Here we show BIX-01294 and its analog E67 can also inhibit H3K9 Jumonji demethylase KIAA1718 with half-maximal inhibitory concentrations in low micro-molar range. Crystallographic analysis of KIAA1718 Jumonji domain in complex with E67 indicated the benzylated six-membered piperidine ring was disordered and exposed to solvent. Removing the moiety (generating compound E67-2) has no effect on the potency against KIAA1718, but unexpectedly lost inhibition against GLP by a factor of 1500. Furthermore, E67 and E67-2 have no effect on the activity against histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) demethylase JARID1C. Thus our study provides a new avenue for designing and improving the potency and selectivity of inhibitors against H3K9 Jumonji demethylases over H3K9 methyltransferases as well as H3K4 demethylases.
Epigenetics; Histone lysine demethylation; Enzymatic inhibition; BIX analogs
The conversion of a quiescent vitamin A storing hepatic stellate cell (HSC) to a matrix producing, contractile myofibroblast-like activated HSC is a key event in the onset of liver disease following injury of any aetiology. Previous studies have shown that class I histone deacetylases (HDACs) are involved in the phenotypical changes occurring during stellate cell activation in liver and pancreas.
In the current study we investigate the role of class II HDACs during HSC activation.
We characterized the expression of the class II HDACs freshly isolated mouse HSCs. We inhibited HDAC activity by selective pharmacological inhibition with MC1568, and by repressing class II HDAC gene expression using specific siRNAs.
Inhibition of HDAC activity leads to a strong reduction of HSC activation markers α-SMA, lysyl oxidase and collagens as well as an inhibition of cell proliferation. Knock down experiments showed that HDAC4 contributes to HSC activation by regulating lysyl oxidase expression. In addition, we observed a strong up regulation of miR-29, a well-known anti-fibrotic miR, upon treatment with MC1568. Our in vivo work suggests that a successful inhibition of class II HDACs could be promising for development of future anti-fibrotic compounds.
In conclusion, the use of MC1568 has enabled us to identify a role for class II HDACs regulating miR-29 during HSC activation.
Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) represents a valuable target for hormone-dependent tumors such as prostate and breast cancers. Here we report the enzyme and cellular characterization of the 1-benzyl-3,5-bis(3-bromo-4-hydroxybenzylidene) piperidin-4-one (7g) and its analogues 8a-l. Among them, 7g, 8e, and 8l displayed high and selective CARM1 inhibition, with lower or no activity against a panel of different PRMTs or HKMTs. In human LNCaP cells, 7g showed a significant dose-dependent reduction of the PSA promoter activity.
Class IIa histone deacetylases (HDACs) belong to a large family of enzymes involved in protein deacetylation and play a role in regulating gene expression and cell differentiation. Previously, we showed that HDAC inhibitors modify the timing and determination of pancreatic cell fate. The aim of this study was to determine the role of class IIa HDACs in pancreas development.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We took a genetic approach and analyzed the pancreatic phenotype of mice lacking HDAC4, -5, and -9. We also developed a novel method of lentiviral infection of pancreatic explants and performed gain-of-function experiments.
We show that class IIa HDAC4, -5, and -9 have an unexpected restricted expression in the endocrine β- and δ-cells of the pancreas. Analyses of the pancreas of class IIa HDAC mutant mice revealed an increased pool of insulin-producing β-cells in Hdac5−/− and Hdac9−/− mice and an increased pool of somatostatin-producing δ-cells in Hdac4−/− and Hdac5−/− mice. Conversely, HDAC4 and HDAC5 overexpression showed a decreased pool of insulin-producing β-cells and somatostatin-producing δ-cells. Finally, treatment of pancreatic explants with the selective class IIa HDAC inhibitor MC1568 enhances expression of Pax4, a key factor required for proper β-and δ-cell differentiation and amplifies endocrine β- and δ-cells.
We conclude that HDAC4, -5, and -9 are key regulators to control the pancreatic β/δ-cell lineage. These results highlight the epigenetic mechanisms underlying the regulation of endocrine cell development and suggest new strategies for β-cell differentiation-based therapies.
Early prostate cancer (PCa) is generally treatable and associated with good prognosis. After a variable time, PCa evolves into a highly metastatic and treatment-refractory disease: castration-resistant PCa (CRPC). Currently, few prognostic factors are available to predict the emergence of CRPC, and no curative option is available. Epigenetic gene regulation has been shown to trigger PCa metastasis and androgen-independence. Most epigenetic studies have focused on DNA and histone methyltransferases. While DNA methylation leads to gene silencing, histone methylation can trigger gene activation or inactivation, depending on the target amino acid residues and the extent of methylation (me1, me2, or me3). Interestingly, some histone modifiers are essential for PCa tumor-initiating cell (TIC) self-renewal. TICs are considered the seeds responsible for metastatic spreading and androgen-independence. Histone Lysine Demethylases (KDMs) are a novel class of epigenetic enzymes which can remove both repressive and activating histone marks. KDMs are currently grouped into 7 major classes, each one targeting a specific methylation site. Since their discovery, KDM expression has been found to be deregulated in several neoplasms. In PCa, KDMs may act as either tumor suppressors or oncogenes, depending on their gene regulatory function. For example, KDM1A and KDM4C are essential for PCa androgen-dependent proliferation, while PHF8 is involved in PCa migration and invasion. Interestingly, the possibility of pharmacologically targeting KDMs has been demonstrated. In the present paper, we summarize the emerging role of KDMs in regulating the metastatic potential and androgen-dependence of PCa. In addition, we speculate on the possible interaction between KDMs and other epigenetic effectors relevant for PCa TICs. Finally, we explore the role of KDMs as novel prognostic factors and therapeutic targets. We believe that studies on histone demethylation may add a novel perspective in our efforts to prevent and cure advanced PCa.
Prostate cancer; Epigenetics; Tumor-initiating cells; Histone demethylase; Androgen receptor
From February 12–16, 2012, leading members of the sirtuin scientific community assembled in Tahoe, CA to attend the Keystone Symposium “Sirtuins in Aging, Metabolism, and Disease.” It was a vibrant and lively meeting, and in the spirit of Keystone Symposia, both established sirtuin researchers and those new to the field enjoyed a unique opportunity to interact and exchange ideas.
Endothelial barrier dysfunction (EBD) involves microtubule disassembly and enhanced cell contractility. Histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) deacetylates α-tubulin, and thereby destabilizes microtubules. This study investigates a role for HDAC6 in EBD.
EBD was induced with thrombin±HDAC6 inhibitors (tubacin and MC1575), and assessed by transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER). Markers for microtubule disassembly (α-tubulin and acetylated α-tubulin) and contraction (phosporylated myosin light chain 2, P-MLC2) were measured using immunoblots and immunofluorescence.
Results and Conclusion
Thrombin induced a ~50% decrease in TEER that was abrogated by the HDAC6 inhibitors. Moreover, inhibition of HDAC6 diminished edema in the lung injured by lipopolysacchride. Lastly, inhibition of HDAC6 attenuated thrombin- induced microtubule disassembly and P-MLC2. Our results suggest that HDAC6 can be targeted to limit EBD.
Ovarian cancer frequently acquires resistance to platinum chemotherapy, representing a major challenge for improving patient survival. Recent work suggests resistant clones exist within a larger drug sensitive cell-population prior to chemotherapy, implying that resistance is selected for rather than generated by treatment. We sought to compare clinically-derived, intra-patient paired models of initial platinum response and subsequent resistant relapse to define molecular determinants of evolved resistance. Transcriptional analysis of a matched cell-line series from three patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer before and after development of clinical platinum resistance (PEO1/PEO4/PEO6, PEA1/PEA2, PEO14/PEO23) identified 91 up- and 126 down-regulated genes common to acquired resistance. Significantly enhanced apoptotic response to platinum treatment in resistant cells was observed following knockdown of HDAC4, FOLR2, PIK3R1 or STAT1 (p<0.05). Interestingly, HDAC4 and STAT1 were found to physically interact. Acetyl-STAT1 was detected in platinum sensitive but not HDAC4 over-expressing platinum resistant cells from the same patient. In resistant cells, STAT1 phosphorylation/nuclear translocation was seen following platinum exposure, whereas silencing of HDAC4 increased acetyl-STAT1 levels, prevented platinum induced STAT1 activation and restored cisplatin sensitivity. Conversely, matched sensitive cells were refractory to STAT1 phosphorylation on platinum treatment. Analysis of 16 paired tumor biopsies taken before and after development of clinical platinum resistance showed significantly increased HDAC4 expression in resistant tumors (n=7/16[44%]; p=0.04). Therefore, clinical selection of HDAC4 overexpressing tumor cells upon exposure to chemotherapy promotes STAT1 deacetylation and cancer cell survival. Together, our findings identify HDAC4 as a novel, therapeutically tractable target to counter platinum resistance in ovarian cancer.
How regeneration cues are converted into the epigenetic information that controls gene expression in adult stem cells is currently unknown. We identified a novel inflammation-activated signalling in muscle stem (satellite) cells, by which the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) represses Pax7 expression during muscle regeneration. TNF-activated p38alpha kinase promotes the interaction between YY1 and PRC2, via threonine 372 phosphorylation of EzH2, the enzymatic sub-unit of the complex, leading to the formation of repressive chromatin on Pax7 promoter. Anti-TNF antibodies stimulate satellite cell proliferation in regenerating muscles of dystrophic or normal mice. Genetic knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of the enzymatic components of the p38/PRC2 signalling – p38alpha and EzH2 - invariably promote Pax7 expression and expansion of satellite cells that retain their differentiation potential upon signalling resumption. Genetic knockdown of Pax7 impaired satellite cell proliferation in response to p38 inhibition, thereby establishing the biological link between p38/PRC2 signalling to Pax7 and satellite cell decision to proliferate or differentiate.
Pax7; p38; muscle stem (satellite) cells; regeneration; chromatin; Polycomb complex
Histone deacetylases (HDAC) are key enzymes in the epigenetic control of gene expression. Recently, inhibitors of class I and class II HDAC have been successfully employed for the treatment of different inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, airway inflammation and asthma. So far, little is known so far about a similar therapeutic effect of inhibitors specifically directed against sirtuins, the class III HDAC. In this study, we investigated the expression and localization of endogenous sirtuins in primary human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMEC), a cell type playing a key role in the development and maintenance of skin inflammation. We then examined the biological activity of sirtinol, a specific sirtuin inhibitor, in HDMEC response to pro-inflammatory cytokines. We found that, even though sirtinol treatment alone affected only long-term cell proliferation, it diminishes HDMEC inflammatory responses to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)α and interleukin (IL)-1β. In fact, sirtinol significantly reduced membrane expression of adhesion molecules in TNFã- or IL-1β-stimulated cells, as well as the amount of CXCL10 and CCL2 released by HDMEC following TNFα treatment. Notably, sirtinol drastically decreased monocyte adhesion on activated HDMEC. Using selective inhibitors for Sirt1 and Sirt2, we showed a predominant involvement of Sirt1 inhibition in the modulation of adhesion molecule expression and monocyte adhesion on activated HDMEC. Finally, we demonstrated the in vivo expression of Sirt1 in the dermal vessels of normal and psoriatic skin. Altogether, these findings indicated that sirtuins may represent a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases characterized by a prominent microvessel involvement.
In addition to genetic disorders, epigenetic alterations have been shown to be involved in cancer, through misregulation of histone modifications. Miswriting, misreading, and mis-erasing of histone acetylation as well as methylation marks can be actually associated with oncogenesis and tumor proliferation. Historically, methylation of Arg and Lys residues has been considered a stable, irreversible process due to the slow turnover of methyl groups in chromatin. The discovery in recent years of a large number of histone Lys demethylases (KDMs, belonging to either the amino oxidase or the JmjC family) totally changed this point of view and suggested a new role for dynamic histone methylation in biological processes. Since overexpression, alteration, or mutation of a number of KDMs has been found in many types of cancers, such enzymes could represent diagnostic tools as well as epigenetic targets to modulate for obtaining novel therapeutic weapons against cancer. The first little steps in this direction are described here.
LSD1; Jumonji-containing enzymes; FAD; 2-oxoglutarate; cancer
The family of histone deacetylases (HDACs) has recently emerged as important drug targets for treatment of slow progressive neurodegenerative disorders, including Huntington’s disease (HD). Broad pharmaceutical inhibition of HDACs has shown neuroprotective effects in various HD models. Here we examined the susceptibility of HDAC targets for drug treatment in affected brain areas during HD progression. We observed increased HDAC1 and decreased HDAC4, 5 and 6 levels, correlating with disease progression, in cortices and striata of HD R6/2 mice. However, there were no significant changes in HDAC protein levels, assessed in an age-dependent manner, in HD knock-in CAG140 mice and we did not observe significant changes in HDAC1 levels in human HD brains. We further assessed acetylation levels of α-tubulin, as a biomarker of HDAC6 activity, and found it unchanged in cortices from R6/2, knock-in, and human subjects at all disease stages. Inhibition of deacetylase activities was identical in cortical extracts from R6/2 and wild-type mice treated with a class II-selective HDAC inhibitor. Lastly, treatment with class I- and II-selective HDAC inhibitors showed similar responses in HD and wild-type rat striatal cells. In conclusion, our results show that class I and class II HDAC targets are present and accessible for chronic drug treatment during HD progression and provide impetus for therapeutic development of brain-permeable class- or isoform-selective inhibitors.
Although numerous studies have underlined the role of HDACs in breast physiology and tumorigenesis, little is known on the particular contribution of the various classes of HDACs in these processes. Using ERα-positive MCF-7 breast cancer cells, the effects of MC1575 and MC1568, two novel class II specific HDAC inhibitors (HDI), were analyzed on cell proliferation, apoptosis and estrogen signalling. The specificity of these HDIs was validated by measuring histone and α-tubulin acetylation and by the specific in vitro inhibition of recombinant HDAC4 using histone and non histone substrates, contrasting with the lack of inhibition of class I HDACs. In addition, MC1575 did not inhibit class I HDAC gene expression thus confirming the specific targeting of class II enzymes. Similar to TSA, MC1575 displayed a dose-dependent anti-proliferative effect and induced cell cycle arrest although this blockade occurred at a different level than TSA. Moreover, and in contrast to TSA, MC1575 had no effect on MCF-7 cells apoptosis. Interestingly, MC1575 was able to increase p2lwaf1/CIP1 mRNA levels but did not regulate the expression of other genes such as cyclin D1, p27, p14ARF, Bcl2, Baxα, Trail-R1 and -R2. Finally, MC1575 strongly induced ERβ gene expression but did not decrease ERα expression nor did it switch hydroxy-tamoxifen to an agonist activity. Altogether, these data suggest that the class II HDAC sub-family may exert specific roles in breast cancer progression and estrogen-dependence.
Apoptosis; physiology; Breast Neoplasms; genetics; metabolism; pathology; Cell Cycle; physiology; Cell Division; physiology; Cell Line, Tumor; Estrogen Receptor alpha; metabolism; Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic; Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic; Histone Deacetylases; genetics; metabolism; Humans; Repressor Proteins; genetics; metabolism; Signal Transduction; physiology; Histone deacetylase; histone deacetylase inhibitor; breast cancer; estrogen receptor; cell proliferation
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are promising new epi-drugs, but the presence of both class I and class II enzymes in HDAC complexes precludes a detailed elucidation of the individual HDAC functions. By using the class II-specific HDAC inhibitor MC1568, we separated class I- and class II-dependent effects and defined the roles of class II enzymes in muscle differentiation in cultured cells and in vivo. MC1568 arrests myogenesis by (i) decreasing myocyte enhancer factor 2D (MEF2D) expression, (ii) by stabilizing the HDAC4–HDAC3–MEF2D complex, and (iii) paradoxically, by inhibiting differentiation-induced MEF2D acetylation. In vivo MC1568 shows an apparent tissue-selective HDAC inhibition. In skeletal muscle and heart, MC1568 inhibits the activity of HDAC4 and HDAC5 without affecting HDAC3 activity, thereby leaving MEF2–HDAC complexes in a repressed state. Our results suggest that HDAC class II-selective inhibitors might have a therapeutic potential for the treatment of muscle and heart diseases.
differentiation; epigenetic drugs; HDAC inhibitor; signal transduction
Latently infected, resting memory CD4+ T cells and macrophages represent a major obstacle to the eradication of HIV-1. For this purpose, "shock and kill" strategies have been proposed (activation of HIV-1 followed by stimuli leading to cell death). Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) induce HIV-1 activation from quiescence, yet class/isoform-selective HDACIs are needed to specifically target HIV-1 latency. We tested 32 small molecule HDACIs for their ability to induce HIV-1 activation in the ACH-2 and U1 cell line models. In general, potent activators of HIV-1 replication were found among non-class selective and class I-selective HDACIs. However, class I selectivity did not reduce the toxicity of most of the molecules for uninfected cells, which is a major concern for possible HDACI-based therapies. To overcome this problem, complementary strategies using lower HDACI concentrations have been explored. We added to class I HDACIs the glutathione-synthesis inhibitor buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), in an attempt to create an intracellular environment that would facilitate HIV-1 activation. The basis for this strategy was that HIV-1 replication decreases the intracellular levels of reduced glutathione, creating a pro-oxidant environment which in turn stimulates HIV-1 transcription. We found that BSO increased the ability of class I HDACIs to activate HIV-1. This interaction allowed the use of both types of drugs at concentrations that were non-toxic for uninfected cells, whereas the infected cell cultures succumbed more readily to the drug combination. These effects were associated with BSO-induced recruitment of HDACI-insensitive cells into the responding cell population, as shown in Jurkat cell models for HIV-1 quiescence. The results of the present study may contribute to the future design of class I HDACIs for treating HIV-1. Moreover, the combined effects of class I-selective HDACIs and the glutathione synthesis inhibitor BSO suggest the existence of an Achilles' heel that could be manipulated in order to facilitate the "kill" phase of experimental HIV-1 eradication strategies.
Epigenomic modifiers, such as histone deacetylase inhibitors, are compounds that regulate gene expression by interfering with the enzymatic machinery that maintains the proper chromatin structure of the nucleus. These compounds are at the forefront of novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of several diseases including cancer and genetic disorders such as β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease. Here we review the current understanding of the mechanism of action of epigenomic modifiers in the treatment of β-thalassemia and sickle cell anemia. We also discuss how the lessons learned from the study of the effects of these compounds on the β-globin locus, one of the best characterized regions of the human genome, might contribute to the understanding of the mechanism of action of these same compounds in cancer, where the specific regions of the genome that are responsible for the pathophysiology of the disease are often poorly defined.
Histone deacetylase inhibitors; Hemoglobin F induction; β-Thalassemia; β-Globin locus
We report that quinoline derivative MC1626, first described as an inhibitor of the histone acetyltransferase (HAT) GCN5, is active against the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii in vitro. However, MC1626 does not inhibit Toxoplasma GCN5 HATs or reduce HAT-mediated activity; rather, this quinoline may target the plastid organelle called the apicoplast.