The effect of histone deacetylase inhibitors on AHSP expression

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Alpha-hemoglobin stabilizing protein (AHSP) is a molecular chaperone that can reduce the damage caused by excess free α-globin to erythroid cells in patients with impaired β-globin chain synthesis. We assessed the effect of sodium phenylbutyrate and sodium valproate, two histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDIs) that are being studied for the treatment of hemoglobinopathies, on the expression of AHSP, BCL11A (all isoforms), γ-globin genes (HBG1/ 2), and some related transcription factors including GATA1, NFE2, EKLF, KLF4, and STAT3. For this purpose, the K562 cell line was cultured for 2, 4, and 6 days in the presence and absence of sodium phenylbutyrate and sodium valproate. Relative real-time qRT-PCR analysis of mRNA levels was performed to determine the effects of the two compounds on gene expression. Expression of all target mRNAs increased significantly (p < 0.05), except for the expression of BCL11A, which was down-regulated (p < 0.05) in the cells treated with both compounds relative to the levels measured for untreated cells. The findings indicated that sodium valproate had a more considerable effect than sodium phenylbutyrate (p < 0.0005) on BCL11A repression and the up-regulation of other studied genes. γ-Globin and AHSP gene expression continuously increased during the culture period in the treated cells, with the highest gene expression observed for 1 mM sodium valproate after 6 days. Both compounds repressed the expression of BCL11A (-XL, -L, -S) and up-regulated GATA1, NFE2, EKLF, KLF4, STAT3, AHSP, and γ-globin genes expression. Moreover, sodium valproate showed a stronger effect on repressing BCL11A and escalating the expression of other target genes. The findings of this in vitro experiment could be considered in selecting drugs for clinical use in patients with β-hemoglobinopathies.




Okhovat, M. A., Ziari, K., Ranjbaran, R., & Nikouyan, N. (2018). The effect of histone deacetylase inhibitors on AHSP expression. PLoS ONE, 13(2).

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