Histone deacetylases (HDAC) modulate acetylation and the function of histone and non-histone proteins. HDAC inhibitors have been developed to block the aberrant action of HDACs in cancer, and several are in clinical use (vorinostat, romidepsin, and valproic acid). Detailed understanding of their action is lacking, however, and their clinical activity is limited in most cases. Recently, HDACs have been involved in the control of the DNA damage response (DDR) at several levels and in directly regulating the acetylation of a number of DDR proteins (including CtIP and Exo1). Mechanistically, acetylation leads to the degradation of double-strand break repair enzymes through autophagy, providing a novel, direct link between DDR and autophagy. These observations, obtained in yeast cells, should now be translated to mammalian model systems and cancer cells to reveal whether this acetylation link is maintained in mammals, and if and how it is deregulated in cancer. In addition to HDACs, DDR and autophagy have been addressed pharmacologically, suggesting that the acetylation link, if involved in cancer, can be exploited for the design of new anticancer treatments.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research