Gene silencing by epigenetic mechanisms is frequent in prostate cancer (PCA). The link between DNA hypermethylation and histone modifications is not completely understood. We chose the GSTP1 gene which is silenced by hypermethylation to analyze the effect of the histone deacetylase inhibitor depsipeptide on DNA methylation and histone modifications at the GSTP1 promoter site. Prostate cell lines (PC-3, LNCaP, and BPH-1) were treated with depsipeptide; apoptosis (FACS analysis), GSTP1 mRNA levels (quantitative real-time PCR), DNA hypermethylation (methylation-specific PCR), and histone modifications (chromatin immunoprecipitation) were studied. Depsipeptide induced apoptosis in PCA cells, but not a cell cycle arrest. Depispeptide reversed DNA hypermethylation and repressive histone modifications (reduction of H3K9me2/3 and H3K27me2/3; increase of H3K18Ac), thereby inducing GSTP1 mRNA re-expression. Successful therapy requires both, DNA demethylation and activating histone modifications, to induce complete gene expression of epigenetically silenced genes and depsipeptide fulfils both criteria.
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