The tumor suppressor gene PTEN is a major negative regulator of the PI3K/Akt cellular survival pathway. Overexpression of PTEN by adenoviral transfection increases doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. Whereas doxorubicin-induced apoptosis can be potentiated by the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor Trichostatin A (TSA), the mechanisms underlying this process remain unclear. The aim of this work was to investigate whether changes in PTEN expression are involved in TSA/doxorubicin-induced apoptosis.
We treated 293 T cells with TSA and doxorubicin, detected apoptosis by using Hoechst 33342 staining, and examined changes of PTEN and Egr-1 expression by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Luciferase reporter assay was used to evaluate the promoter activity of PTEN and Western blot and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used to confirm changes in the expression of PTEN. The chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay was performed to estimate the acetylation level of PTEN promoter.
Doxorubicin-induced apoptosis was enhanced by TSA, whereas small interfering RNA (siRNA) targeting PTEN inhibited TSA/doxorubicin-induced apoptosis. Also, TSA promoted Egr-1 expression, which is the main transcription factor of PTEN, and this resulted in up-regulation of PTEN expression, which consequently potentiated apoptosis. Moreover, histone acetyltransferase p300 was able to synergistically activate PTEN transcription with Egr-1, implicating the role of histone acetylation in the regulation of PTEN expression.
TSA promoted doxorubicin-induced apoptosis through a mechanism that involved the stimulation of Egr-1 expression, acetylation of core histones at the PTEN promoter, and consequently induction of PTEN transcription. These findings provide a theoretical basis for the therapeutic application of combined treatment of TSA/doxorubicin for cancer. Cancer 2007. © 2007 American Cancer Society.