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Mol Cancer Res. 2008 Jan;6(1):151-64. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-07-0175.

Histone modifications at the ABCG2 promoter following treatment with histone deacetylase inhibitor mirror those in multidrug-resistant cells.

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  • 1Molecular Therapeutics Section, Medical Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892-4255, USA.


ABCG2 is a ubiquitous ATP-binding cassette transmembrane protein that is important in pharmacology and may play a role in stem cell biology and clinical drug resistance. To study the mechanism(s) regulating ABCG2 expression, we used ChIP to investigate the levels of acetylated histone H3, histone deacetylases (HDAC), histone acetyltransferases, and other transcription regulatory proteins associated with the ABCG2 promoter. Following selection for drug resistance and the subsequent overexpression of ABCG2, an increase in acetylated histone H3 but a decrease in class I HDACs associated with the ABCG2 promoter was observed. Permissive histone modifications, including an increase in histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (Me(3)-K4 H3) and histone H3 serine 10 phosphorylation (P-S10 H3), were observed accompanying development of the resistance phenotype. These changes mirrored those in some cell lines treated with a HDAC inhibitor, romidepsin. A repressive histone mark, trimethylated histone H3 lysine 9 (Me(3)-K9 H3), was found in untreated parental cells and cells that did not respond to HDAC inhibition with ABCG2 up-regulation. Interestingly, although all five studied cell lines showed global histone acetylation and MDR1 up-regulation upon HDAC inhibition, only those cells with removal of the repressive mark, and recruitment of RNA polymerase II and a chromatin remodeling factor Brg-1 from the ABCG2 promoter, showed increased ABCG2 expression. In the remaining cell lines, HDAC1 binding in association with the repressive Me3-K9 H3 mark apparently constrains the effect of HDAC inhibition on ABCG2 expression. These studies begin to address the differential effect of HDAC inhibitors widely observed in gene expression studies.

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