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Mutat Res. 2001 Aug 8;479(1-2):225-33.

The histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A reduces nickel-induced gene silencing in yeast and mammalian cells.

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Department of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY 10016, USA.


We have previously reported that nickel (Ni)-silenced expression of the URA3 gene in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and gpt transgene in G12 Chinese hamster cells. In both cases, close proximity to a heterochromatic region was required for gene silencing. Yeast exposed to Ni exhibited reduced acetylation of the lysine residues in the N-terminal tail of histone H4. Ni-induced silencing of the gpt gene in mammalian cells involved hypermethylation of promoter region DNA. Yeast do not employ DNA methylation to silence gene expression. To determine if histone deacetylation participates in Ni-induced silencing of the URA3 and gpt genes, we exposed yeast and G12 hamster cells to the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) prior to and concurrently with Ni. Treatment of yeast cells with 0.2-0.6mM NiCl(2) resulted in reduced expression of the URA3 gene as assessed by increased resistance to 1g/l 5-fluorotic acid (5-FOA). This effect was lessened when yeast were pre-treated with 50 microg TSA/ml. Similarly, treatment of G12 cells with 5 ng/ml TSA during and after exposure to 0.3 microg Ni(3)S(2)/cm(2) reduced silencing of the gpt gene as gauged by resistance to 10 microg/ml 6-thioguanine (6-TG). The ability of TSA alone and in combination with the DNA-demethylating agent (5-AzaC) to reactivate the gpt gene in Ni-silenced variants was also assessed. Although treatment with 100 ng/ml TSA for 48 h was partially effective in reactivating the gpt gene, treatment with 5 microM 5-AzaC was more efficacious. The greatest gpt gene reversion frequencies were observed following a sequential 5-AzaC/TSA treatment. Taken all together, our data from mammalian cells suggests that both DNA methylation and histone deacetylation participate in Ni-induced silencing of the gpt gene with DNA hypermethylation playing the more dominant role in maintaining the silenced state.

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