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PLoS One. 2011 Apr 29;6(4):e19229. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019229.

Hypoxia-induced down-regulation of neprilysin by histone modification in mouse primary cortical and hippocampal neurons.

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  • 1Institute of Neurology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.


Amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) accumulation leads to neurodegeneration and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Aβ metabolism is a dynamic process in the Aβ production and clearance that requires neprilysin (NEP) and other enzymes to degrade Aβ. It has been reported that NEP expression is significantly decreased in the brain of AD patients. Previously we have documented hypoxia is a risk factor for Aβ generation in vivo and in vitro through increasing Aβ generation by altering β-cleavage and γ-cleavage of APP and down-regulating NEP, and causing tau hyperphosphorylation. Here, we investigated the molecular mechanisms of hypoxia-induced down-regulation of NEP. We found a significant decrease in NEP expression at the mRNA and protein levels after hypoxic treatment in mouse primary cortical and hippocampal neurons. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays and relative quantitative PCR (q-PCR) revealed an increase of histone H3-lysine9 demethylation (H3K9me2) and a decrease of H3 acetylation (H3-Ace) in the NEP promoter regions following hypoxia. In addition, we found that hypoxia caused up-regulation of histone methyl transferase (HMT) G9a and histone deacetylases (HDACs) HDAC-1. Decreased expression of NEP during hypoxia can be prevented by application with the epigenetic regulators 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza), HDACs inhibitor sodium valproate (VA), and siRNA-mediated knockdown of G9a or HDAC1. DNA methylation PCR data do not support that hypoxia affects the methylation of NEP promoters. This study suggests that hypoxia may down-regulate NEP by increasing H3K9me2 and decreasing H3-Ace modulation.

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