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J Biol Chem. 2011 Aug 19;286(33):28833-43. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.233932. Epub 2011 Jun 27.

Histone deacetylase 9 deficiency protects against effector T cell-mediated systemic autoimmunity.

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Section on Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27157, UAS.


Co-repressor histone deacetylase 9 (HDAC9) plays a key role in the development and differentiation of many types of cells, including regulatory T cells. However, the biological function of HDAC9 in T effector cells is unknown. Systemic autoimmune diseases like lupus, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis have dysfunctional effector T cells. To determine the role of HDAC9 in systemic autoimmunity, we created MRL/lpr mice with HDAC9 deficiency that have aberrant effector T cell function. HDAC9 deficiency led to decreased lympho-proliferation, inflammation, autoantibody production, and increased survival in MRL/lpr mice. HDAC9-deficient mice manifested Th2 polarization, decreased T effector follicular cells positive for inducible co-stimulator, and activated T cells in vivo compared with HDAC9-intact MRL/lpr mice. HDAC9 deficiency also resulted in increased GATA3 and roquin and decreased BCL6 gene expression. HDAC9 deficiency was associated with increased site-specific lysine histone acetylation at H3 (H3K9, H3K14, and H3K18) globally that was localized to IL-4, roquin, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ promoters with increased gene expression, respectively. In kidney and spleen, HDAC9 deficiency decreased inflammation and cytokine and chemokine production due to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ overexpression. These findings suggest that HDAC9 acts as an epigenetic switch in effector T cell-mediated systemic autoimmunity.

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