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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Histone deacetylase inhibitors radiosensitize human melanoma cells by suppressing DNA repair activity.

PURPOSE: Histone deacetylase ( HDAC) inhibitors have emerged recently as promising anticancer agents. They arrest cells in the cell cycle and induce differentiation and cell death. The antitumor activity of HDAC inhibitors has been linked to their ability to induce gene expression through acetylation of histone and nonhistone proteins. However, it has recently been suggested that HDAC inhibitors may also enhance the activity of other cancer therapeutics, including radiotherapy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of HDAC inhibitors to radiosensitize human melanoma cells in vitro. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: A panel of HDAC inhibitors that included sodium butyrate (NaB), phenylbutyrate, tributyrin, and trichostatin A were tested for their ability to radiosensitize two human melanoma cell lines (A375 and MeWo) using clonogenic cell survival assays. Apoptosis and DNA repair were measured by standard assays. RESULTS: NaB induced hyperacetylation of histone H4 in the two melanoma cell lines and the normal human fibroblasts. NaB radiosensitized both the A375 and MeWo melanoma cell lines, substantially reducing the surviving fraction at 2 Gy (SF2), whereas it had no effect on the normal human fibroblasts. The other HDAC inhibitors, phenylbutyrate, tributyrin, and trichostatin A had significant radiosensitizing effects on both melanoma cell lines tested. NaB modestly enhanced radiation-induced apoptosis that did not correlate with survival but did correlate with functional impairment of DNA repair as determined based on the host cell reactivation assay. Moreover, NaB significantly reduced the expression of the repair-related genes Ku70 and Ku86 and DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit in melanoma cells at the protein and mRNA levels. Normal human fibroblasts showed no change in DNA repair capacity or levels of DNA repair proteins following NaB treatment. We also examined gamma-H2AX phosphorylation as a marker of radiation response to NaB and observed that compared with controls, gamma-H2AX foci persisted long after ionizing exposure in the NaB-treated cells. CONCLUSIONS: HDAC inhibitors radiosensitize human tumor cells by affecting their ability to repair the DNA damage induced by ionizing radiation and that gamma-H2AX phosphorylation can be used as a predictive marker of radioresponse.[1]


  1. Histone deacetylase inhibitors radiosensitize human melanoma cells by suppressing DNA repair activity. Munshi, A., Kurland, J.F., Nishikawa, T., Tanaka, T., Hobbs, M.L., Tucker, S.L., Ismail, S., Stevens, C., Meyn, R.E. Clin. Cancer Res. (2005) [Pubmed]
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