A conserved mechanism for regulation of endo-lysosomal pH by histone deacetylases

Hari Prasad, Rajini Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pH of the endo-lysosomal system is tightly regulated by a balance of proton pump and leak mechanisms that are critical for storage, recycling, turnover and signaling functions in the cell. Dysregulation of endo-lysosomal pH has been linked to aging, amyloidogenesis, synaptic dysfunction, and various neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, understanding mechanisms that regulate luminal pH may be key to identifying new targets for treatment of these disorders. Meta-analysis of yeast microarray databases revealed that nutrient limiting conditions upregulated transcription of the endosomal Na+/H+ exchanger Nhx1 by inhibition of the histone deacetylase (HDAC) Rpd3, resulting in vacuolar alkalinization. Consistent with these findings, Rpd3 inhibition by the HDAC inhibitor and antifungal drug trichostatin A induced Nhx1 expression and vacuolar alkalinization. Bioinformatics analysis of Drosophila and mouse databases revealed that caloric control of Nhx1 orthologs DmNHE3 and NHE6 respectively, was also mediated by histone deacetylases. We show that NHE6 is a target of cAMP-response element-binding (CREB) protein, providing a molecular mechanism for nutrient and HDAC dependent regulation of endosomal pH. Control of NHE6 expression by pharmacological targeting of the CREB pathway can be used to regulate endosomal pH and restore defective amyloid Aβ clearance in an ApoE4 astrocyte model of Alzheimer’s disease. These observations from yeast, fly, mouse and cell culture models reveal an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for regulation of endosomal NHE expression by histone deacetylases and offer new therapeutic strategies for modulation of endo-lysosomal pH in fungal infection and human disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Jan 22 2018


  • antifungal
  • ApoE4
  • CREB
  • endosome
  • histone deacetylase
  • Rolipram
  • sodium hydrogen exchanger
  • trichostatin A
  • V-ATPase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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