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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33453. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033453. Epub 2012 Mar 30.

Genes are often sheltered from the global histone hyperacetylation induced by HDAC inhibitors.

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Institute of Biomedical Research, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are increasingly used as therapeutic agents, but the mechanisms by which they alter cell behaviour remain unclear. Here we use microarray expression analysis to show that only a small proportion of genes (∼9%) have altered transcript levels after treating HL60 cells with different HDACi (valproic acid, Trichostatin A, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid). Different gene populations respond to each inhibitor, with as many genes down- as up-regulated. Surprisingly, HDACi rarely induced increased histone acetylation at gene promoters, with most genes examined showing minimal change, irrespective of whether genes were up- or down-regulated. Many genes seem to be sheltered from the global histone hyperacetyation induced by HDACi.

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