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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Apr 15;100(8):4389-94. Epub 2003 Apr 3.

Domain-selective small-molecule inhibitor of histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6)-mediated tubulin deacetylation.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Harvard Institute of Chemistry and Cell Biology, Harvard University, 12 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.


Protein acetylation, especially histone acetylation, is the subject of both research and clinical investigation. At least four small-molecule histone deacetylase inhibitors are currently in clinical trials for the treatment of cancer. These and other inhibitors also affect microtubule acetylation. A multidimensional, chemical genetic screen of 7,392 small molecules was used to discover "tubacin," which inhibits alpha-tubulin deacetylation in mammalian cells. Tubacin does not affect the level of histone acetylation, gene-expression patterns, or cell-cycle progression. We provide evidence that class II histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) is the intracellular target of tubacin. Only one of the two catalytic domains of HDAC6 possesses tubulin deacetylase activity, and only this domain is bound by tubacin. Tubacin treatment did not affect the stability of microtubules but did decrease cell motility. HDAC6 overexpression disrupted the localization of p58, a protein that mediates binding of Golgi elements to microtubules. Our results highlight the role of alpha-tubulin acetylation in mediating the localization of microtubule-associated proteins. They also suggest that small molecules that selectively inhibit HDAC6-mediated alpha-tubulin deacetylation, a first example of which is tubacin, might have therapeutic applications as antimetastatic and antiangiogenic agents.

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