Histone modification-mediated CYP2E1 gene expression and apoptosis of HepG2 cells

Hui Yang, Yuqiang Nie, Yuyuan Li, Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


The incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma is rising due to alcohol drinking, hepatitis C viral infection and metabolic syndrome. Differential expression of CYP2E1 may play a pleiotropic role in the multistep process of liver carcinogenesis. Considerable attention has focused on the antitumor effect of trichostatin A (TSA) as well as CYP2E1 expression-induced apoptosis of cancer cells. However, very few studies have examined the mechanisms by which TSA has an antitumor effect and its association to CYP2E1 expression. The current study examined the action of TSA on CYP2E1 expression and the role of CYP2E1 in inducing apoptosis of HepG2 cells. Our data showed that TSA selectively induced CYP2E1 in four studied human hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines (Huh7, PLC/PRF/5, Hep3B and HepG2), but not in normal primary human hepatocytes. TSA-mediated up-regulation of CYP2E1 expression was associated with histone H3 acetylation and the recruitment of HNF-1 and HNF-3β to the CYP2E1 promoter in HepG2 cells. siRNA-mediated knockdown experiments showed that TSA-induced caspase-3 cleavage was decreased due to reduced expression of CYP2E1 in HepG2 cells. Moreover, down-regulation of CYP2E1 was accompanied by decreased production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species. These results suggest that histone modification is involved in CYP2E1 gene expression and that CYP2E1-dependent mitochondrial oxidative stress plays a role in TSA-induced apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • CYP2E1
  • Histone acetylation
  • HNF-1
  • HNF-3β
  • Liver cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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