Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Cell. 2013 Jan 24;49(2):310-21. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2012.10.025. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Histone acetylation regulates intracellular pH.

Author information

Department of Biological Chemistry, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Differences in global levels of histone acetylation occur in normal and cancer cells, although the reason why cells regulate these levels has been unclear. Here we demonstrate a role for histone acetylation in regulating intracellular pH (pH(i)). As pH(i) decreases, histones are globally deacetylated by histone deacetylases (HDACs), and the released acetate anions are coexported with protons out of the cell by monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs), preventing further reductions in pH(i). Conversely, global histone acetylation increases as pH(i) rises, such as when resting cells are induced to proliferate. Inhibition of HDACs or MCTs decreases acetate export and lowers pH(i), particularly compromising pH(i) maintenance in acidic environments. Global deacetylation at low pH is reflected at a genomic level by decreased abundance and extensive redistribution of acetylation throughout the genome. Thus, acetylation of chromatin functions as a rheostat to regulate pH(i) with important implications for mechanism of action and therapeutic use of HDAC inhibitors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center