HDAC-inhibitor (S)-8 disrupts HDAC6-PP1 complex prompting A375 melanoma cell growth arrest and apoptosis

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Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are agents capable of inducing growth arrest and apoptosis in different tumour cell types. Previously, we reported a series of novel HDACi obtained by hybridizing SAHA or oxamflatin with 1,4-benzodiazepines. Some of these hybrids proved effective against haematological and solid cancer cells and, above all, compound (S)-8 has emerged for its activities in various biological systems. Here, we describe the effectiveness of (S)-8 against highly metastatic human A375 melanoma cells by using normal PIG1 melanocytes as control. (S)-8 prompted: acetylation of histones H3/H4 and α-tubulin; G0/G1 and G2/M cell cycle arrest by rising p21 and hypophos-phorylated RB levels; apoptosis involving the cleavage of PARP and caspase 9, BAD protein augmentation and cytochrome c release; decrease in cell motility, invasiveness and pro-angiogenic potential as shown by results of wound-healing assay, down-regulation of MMP-2 and VEGF-A/VEGF-R2, besides TIMP-1/TIMP-2 up-regulation; and also intracellular accumulation of melanin and neutral lipids. The pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk, but not the antioxidant N-acetyl-cysteine, contrasted these events. Mechanistically, (S)-8 allows the disruption of cytoplasmic HDAC6-protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) complex in A375 cells thus releasing the active PP1 that dephosphorylates AKT and blocks its downstream pro-survival signalling. This view is consistent with results obtained by: inhibiting PP1 with Calyculin A; using PPP1R2-transfected cells with impaired PP1 activity; monitoring drug-induced HDAC6-PP1 complex re-shuffling; and, abrogating HDAC6 expression with specific siRNA. Altogether, (S)-8 proved very effective against melanoma A375 cells, but not normal melanocytes, and safe to normal mice thus offering attractive clinical prospects for treating this aggressive malignancy.

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