Qian, Yi; Zhang, Jie; Hu, Qinglin; Xu, Ming; Chen, Yue; Hu, Guoqing; Zhao, Meirong; Liu, Sijin
Silver nanoparticle-induced hemoglobin decrease involves alteration of histone 3 methylation status
BIOMATERIALS, 70:12-22, NOV 2015

Silver nanoparticles (nanosilver, AgNPs) have been shown to induce toxicity in vitro and in vivo; however, the molecular bases underlying the detrimental effects have not been thoroughly understood. Although there are numerous studies on its genotoxicity, only a few studies have investigated the epigenetic changes, even less on the changes of histone modifications by AgNPs. In the current study, we probed the AgNP-induced alterations to histone methylation that could be responsible for globin reduction in erythroid cells. AgNP treatment caused a significant reduction of global methylation level for histone 3 (H3) in erythroid MEL cells at sublethal concentrations, devoid of oxidative stress. The ChIP-PCR analyses demonstrated that methylation of H3 at lysine (Lys) 4 (H3K4) and Lys 79 (H3K79) on the beta-globin locus was greatly reduced. The reduction in methylation could be attributed to decreased histone methyltransferase DOT-1L and MLL levels as well as the direct binding between AgNPs to H3/H4 that provide steric hindrance to prevent methylation as predicted by the all-atom molecular dynamics simulations. This direct interaction was further proved by AgNP-mediated pull-down assay and immunoprecipitation assay. These changes, together with decreased RNA polymerase II activity and chromatin binding at this locus, resulted in decreased hemoglobin production. By contrast, Ag ion-treated cells showed no alterations in histone methylation level. Taken together, these results showed a novel finding in which AgNPs could alter the methylation status of histone. Our study therefore opens a new avenue to study the biological effects of AgNPs at sublethal concentrations from the perspective of epigenetic mechanisms. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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