P21-dependent g(1)arrest with downregulation of cyclin D1 and upregulation of cyclin E by the histone deacetylase inhibitor FR901228

Br J Cancer. 2000 Sep;83(6):817-25. doi: 10.1054/bjoc.2000.1327.


Depsipeptide, FR901228, a novel cyclic peptide inhibitor of histone deacetylase with a unique cytotoxicity profile is currently in phase I clinical trials. Here we demonstrate that, in addition to G2/M arrest, FR901228 causes G1 arrest with Rb hypophosphorylation. In vitro kinase assays demonstrated no direct inhibition of CDK activity, however, an inhibition was observed in CDKs extracted from cells exposed to FR901228. Cyclin D1 protein disappeared between 6 and 12 hours after treatment with FR901228, whereas cyclin E was upregulated. While it did not induce wt p53, FR901228 did induce p21(WAF1/CIP1)in a p53-independent manner. Cell clones lacking p21 were not arrested in G1 phase, but continued DNA synthesis and were arrested in G2/M phase following FR901228 treatment. Finally, FR901228 blunted ERK-2/MAPK activation by EGF whereas early signal transduction events remained intact since overall cellular tyrosine phosphorylation after EGF stimulation was unaffected. Thus, FR901228, while not directly inhibiting kinase activity, causes cyclin D1 downregulation and a p53-independent p21 induction, leading to inhibition of CDK and dephosphorylation of Rb resulting in growth arrest in the early G1 phase. In contrast to the G1 arrest, the G2/M arrest is p21-independent, but is associated with significant cytotoxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cyclin D1 / metabolism*
  • Cyclin E / biosynthesis*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Cyclins / metabolism
  • Cyclins / physiology*
  • Depsipeptides*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • G1 Phase / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Peptides, Cyclic*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Up-Regulation


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • CDKN1A protein, human
  • Cyclin E
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p21
  • Cyclins
  • Depsipeptides
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Peptides, Cyclic
  • Cyclin D1
  • romidepsin