Inhibition of histone deacetylases targets the transcription regulator Id2 to attenuate cystic epithelial cell proliferation

Xiaogang Li, Lucy X. Fan, Brenda Magenheimer, James P. Calvet, Xinjian Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The pan-histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, trichostatin A, was found to reduce cyst progression and slow the decline of kidney function in Pkd2 knockout mice, model of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). Here we determine whether HDAC inhibition acts by regulating cell proliferation to prevent cyst formation, or by other mechanisms. The loss of Pkd1 caused an upregulation of the inhibitor of differentiation 2 (Id2), a transcription regulator, triggering an Id2-mediated downregulation of p21 in mutant mouse embryonic kidney cells in vitro. Using mouse embryonic kidney cells, mutant for Pkd1, we found that trichostatin A decreased Id2, which resulted in upregulation of p21. Further, phosphorylated retinoblastoma (Rb), usually regulated by Cdk2/Cdk4 activity, was also reduced in these cells. Since these latter enzymes are under the control of p21, these studies suggest that the proliferation of cyst epithelial cells that is reduced by trichostatin A might result from p21 upregulation, or alternatively through the Rb-E2F pathway. Additional studies showed that Id2 directly bound to Rb, releasing the transcription activator E2F from transcriptionally inactive Rb-E2F complexes. HDAC inhibition was able to reverse this process by downregulation of Id2. Furthermore, treatment of pregnant Pkd1 mice with trichostatin A prevented cyst formation in the developing embryonic kidneys, showing that this inhibition is effective in vivo during early cyst formation. Thus, HDAC inhibition targets Id2-mediated pathways to downregulate cystic epithelial cell proliferation and hence cystogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-85
Number of pages10
JournalKidney international
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • gene expression
  • gene transcription
  • proliferation
  • renal epithelial cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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