High activity of histone deacetylases (HDACs) has been documented in several types of cancer and may be associated with survival advantage. In a head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell line, cisplatin-induced apoptosis was augmented by pretreatment with the HDAC inhibitor trichostatin A. Apoptosis was accompanied by lysosomal membrane permeabilization (LMP), as shown by immunoblotting of the lysosomal marker protease cathepsin B in extracted cytosol and by immunofluorescence. Moreover, LAMP-2 (lysosomal associated membrane protein-2) was translocated from lysosomal membranes and found in a digitonin extractable fraction together with cytosolic proteins and pretreatment with trichostatin A potentiated the release. Overall, protein level of LAMP-2 was decreased during cell death and, interestingly, inhibition of cysteine cathepsins, by the pan-cysteine cathepsin inhibitor zFA-FMK, prevented loss of LAMP-2. The importance of LAMP-2 for lysosomal membrane stability, was confirmed by showing that LAMP-2 knockout MEFs (mouse embryonic fibroblasts) were more sensitive to cisplatin as compared to the corresponding wildtype cells. Trichostatin A reduced lysosomal pH from 4.46 to 4.25 and cell death was prevented when lysosomal pH was increased by NH(4)Cl, or when inhibiting the activity of lysosomal proteases. We conclude that trichostatin A enhances cisplatin induced cell death by decreasing lysosomal pH, which augments cathepsin activity resulting in reduced LAMP-2 level, and might promote LMP.
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