Histone acetyltransferases and histone deacetylases in B- and T-cell development, physiology and malignancy
Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis) are promising agents for the treatment of acute T lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). However, the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. Based on a recent study showing that HDACis were able to modulate WNT/β-catenin signaling, we further investigated the influence of HDACis on WNT/β-catenin signaling in T-ALL cells and modulation of WNT/β-catenin signaling in mediating anti-leukemic effects of HDACis. Results from Western blotting, immunocytochemistry and a luciferase reporter assay consistently suggested that two HDACis, valproic acid (VPA) and suberoyl bishydroxamic acid (SBHA), augmented WNT/β-catenin signaling in T-ALL cells. Meanwhile, VPA and SBHA dramatically inhibited cell growth, blocked G2/M cell cycle progression and increased p21(WAF1) expression. In addition, the levels of cleaved caspase-9, caspase-3 and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) were elevated, indicating induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, flow cytometry and Western blot for cleaved PARP showed that targeting β-catenin with shRNA attenuated the apoptosis induced by VPA and SBHA. These data demonstrate that HDACis exert profound anti-leukemic effects partly by augmentation of WNT/β-catenin signaling. Using HDACis to modulate WNT/β-catenin signaling could be an attractive new strategy for the treatment of T-ALL.