Histone deacetylase inhibitors deplete enhancer of zeste 2 and associated polycomb repressive complex 2 proteins in human acute leukemia cells

Warren Fiskus, Michael Pranpat, Maria Balasis, Bryan Herger, Rekha Rao, Arul Chinnaiyan, Peter Atadja, Kapil Bhalla
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2006, 5 (12): 3096-104
Human enhancer of zeste 2 (EZH2) protein belongs to the multiprotein polycomb repressive complex 2, which also includes suppressor of zeste 12 (SUZ12) and embryonic ectoderm development (EED). The polycomb repressive complex 2 complex possesses histone methyltransferase activity mediated by the Su(var)3-9, enhancer of zeste, and trithorax domain of EZH2, which methylates histone H3 on lysine (K)-27 (H3K27). In the present studies, we determined that treatment with the hydroxamate histone deacetylase inhibitor LBH589 or LAQ824 depleted the protein levels of EZH2, SUZ12, and EED in the cultured (K562, U937, and HL-60) and primary human acute leukemia cells. This was associated with decreased levels of trimethylated and dimethylated H3K27, with concomitant depletion of the homeobox domain containing HOXA9 and of MEIS1 transcription factors. Knockdown of EZH2 by EZH2 small interfering RNA also depleted SUZ12 and EED, inhibited histone methyltransferase activity, and reduced trimethylated and dimethylated H3K27 levels, with a concomitant loss of clonogenic survival of the cultured acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) cells. EZH2 small interfering RNA sensitized the AML cells to LBH589-mediated depletion of EZH2, SUZ12, and EED; loss of clonogenic survival; and LBH589-induced differentiation of the AML cells. These findings support the rationale to test anti-EZH2 treatment combined with hydroxamate histone deacetylase inhibitors as an antileukemia epigenetic therapy, especially against AML with coexpression of EZH2, HOXA9, and MEIS1 genes.

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