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Blood. 2010 Sep 2;116(9):1506-14. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-01-265686. Epub 2010 Jun 2.

microRNA-dependent modulation of histone acetylation in Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia.

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  • 1Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) cells present with increased expression of microRNA-206 (miRNA-206) and reduced expression of miRNA-9*. Predicted miRNA-206- and -9*-targeted genes include histone deacetylases (HDACs) and histone acetyl transferases (HATs), indicating that these miRNAs may play a role in regulating histone acetylation. We were able to demonstrate that primary WM cells are characterized by unbalanced expression of HDACs and HATs, responsible for decreased acetylated histone-H3 and -H4, and increased HDAC activity. We next examined whether miRNA-206 and -9* modulate the aberrant expression of HDAC and HATs in WM cells leading to increased transcriptional activity. We found that restoring miRNA-9* levels induced toxicity in WM cells, supported by down-modulation of HDAC4 and HDAC5 and up-regulation of acetyl-histone-H3 and -H4. These, together with inhibited HDAC activity, led to induction of apoptosis and autophagy in WM cells. To further confirm that miRNA-9*-dependent modulation of histone acetylation is responsible for induction of WM cytotoxicity, a novel class of HDAC inhibitor (LBH589) was used; we confirmed that inhibition of HDAC activity leads to toxicity in this disease. These findings confirm that histone-modifying genes and HDAC activity are deregulated in WM cells, partially driven by the aberrant expression of miRNA-206 and -9* in the tumor clone.

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