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Mol Cancer Res. 2008 Jul;6(7):1250-8. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-07-2110.

Destabilization of ERBB2 transcripts by targeting 3' untranslated region messenger RNA associated HuR and histone deacetylase-6.

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  • 1Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, CA 94945, USA. gscott@buckinstitute.org


In addition to repressing ERBB2 promoter function, histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors induce the accelerated decay of mature ERBB2 transcripts; the mechanism mediating this transcript destabilization is unknown but depends on the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of ERBB2 mRNA. Using ERBB2-overexpressing human breast cancer cells (SKBR3), the mRNA stability factor HuR was shown to support ERBB2 transcript integrity, bind and endogenously associate with a conserved U-rich element within the ERBB2 transcript 3' UTR, coimmunoprecipitate with RNA-associated HDAC activity, and colocalize with HDAC6. HDAC6 also coimmunoprecipitates with HuR in an RNA-dependent manner and within 6 hours of exposure to a pan-HDAC inhibitor dose, that does not significantly alter cytosolic HuR levels or HuR binding to ERBB2 mRNA. Cellular ERBB2 transcript levels decline while remaining physically associated with HDAC6. Knockdown of HDAC6 protein by small interfering RNA partially suppressed the ERBB2 transcript decay induced by either pan-HDAC or HDAC6-selective enzymatic inhibitors. Three novel hydroxamates, ST71, ST17, and ST80 were synthesized and shown to inhibit HDAC6 with 14-fold to 31-fold greater selectivity over their binding and inhibition of HDAC1. Unlike more potent pan-HDAC inhibitors, these HDAC6-selective inhibitors produced dose-dependent growth arrest of ERBB2-overexpressing breast cancer cells by accelerating the decay of mature ERBB2 mRNA without repressing ERBB2 promoter function. In sum, these findings point to the therapeutic potential of HuR and HDAC6-selective inhibitors, contrasting ERBB2 stability effects induced by HDAC6 enzymatic inhibition and HDAC6 protein knockdown, and show that ERBB2 transcript stability mechanisms include exploitable targets for the development of novel anticancer therapies.

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