BACKGROUND: Acetylation and deacetylation of proteins occur in cells in response to various stimuli, and are reversibly catalyzed by histone acetyltransferase and histone deacetylase (HDAC), respectively. EoL-1 cells have an FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion gene that causes transformation of eosinophilic precursor cells into leukemia cells. The HDAC inhibitors apicidin and n-butyrate suppress the proliferation of EoL-1 cells and induce differentiation into eosinophils by a decrease in the protein level of FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha without affecting the mRNA level for FIP1L1-PDGFRA. In this study, we analyzed the mechanism by which the protein level of FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha is decreased by apicidin and n-butyrate. METHODS: EoL-1 cells were incubated in the presence of the HDAC inhibitors apicidin, trichostatin A or n-butyrate. The protein levels of FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha and phosphorylated eIF-2alpha were determined by Western blotting. Actinomycin D and cycloheximide were used to block RNA synthesis and protein synthesis, respectively, in the chasing experiment of the amount of FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha protein. RESULTS: When apicidin- and n-butyrate-treated EoL-1 cells were incubated in the presence of actinomycin D, the decrease in the protein level of FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha was significantly enhanced when compared with controls. In contrast, the protein levels were not changed by cycloheximide among these groups. Apicidin and n-butyrate induced the continuous phosphorylation of eIF-2alpha for up to 8 days. CONCLUSIONS: The decrease in the level of FIP1L1-PDGFRalpha protein by continuous inhibition of HDAC may be due to the decrease in the translation rate of FIP1L1-PDGFRA.