Histone acetylation has a regulatory role in gene expression and is necessary for proper tissue development. To investigate the specific roles of histone deacetylases (HDACs) in rod differentiation in neonatal mouse retinas, we used a pharmacological approach that showed that inhibition of class I but not class IIa HDACs caused the same phenotypic changes seen with broad spectrum HDAC inhibitors, most notably a block in the differentiation of rod photoreceptors. Inhibition of HDAC1 resulted in increase of acetylation of lysine 9 of histone 3 (H3K9) and lysine 12 of histone 4 (H4K12) but not lysine 27 of histone 3 (H3K27) and led to maintained expression of progenitor-specific genes such as Vsx2 and Hes1 with concomitant block of expression of rod-specific genes. ChiP experiments confirmed these changes in the promoters of a group of progenitor genes. Based on our results, we suggest that HDAC1-specific inhibition prevents progenitor cells of the retina from exiting the cell cycle and differentiating. HDAC1 may be an essential epigenetic regulator of the transition from progenitor cells to terminally differentiated photoreceptors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology