Histone deacetylase–mediated regulation of endolysosomal pH

Hari Prasad, Rajini Rao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pH of the endolysosomal 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 endolysosomal pH has been linked to aging, amyloidogenesis, synaptic dysfunction, and various neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, understanding the mechanisms that regulate luminal pH may be key to identifying new targets for managing these disorders. Meta-analysis of yeast microarray databases revealed that nutrient-limiting conditions inhibited the histone deacetylase (HDAC) Rpd3 and thereby up-regulated transcription of the endosomal Na/H exchanger Nhx1, 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 the Nhx1 orthologs DmNHE3 and NHE6, respectively, is also mediated by HDACs. We show that NHE6 is a target of the transcription factor cAMP-response element–binding protein (CREB), a known regulator of cellular responses to low-nutrient conditions, providing a molecular mechanism for nutrient- and HDAC-dependent regulation of endosomal pH. Of note, pharmacological targeting of the CREB pathway to increase NHE6 expression helped regulate endosomal pH and correct defective clearance of amyloid A in an apoE4 astrocyte model of Alzheimer’s disease. These observations from yeast, fly, mouse, and cell culture models point to an evolutionarily conserved mechanism for HDAC-mediated regulation of endosomal NHE expression. Our insights offer new therapeutic strategies for modulation of endolysosomal pH in fungal infection and human disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6721-6735
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 4 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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