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Genes Nutr. 2012 Jul;7(3):357-67. doi: 10.1007/s12263-012-0283-9. Epub 2012 Feb 12.

Histone deacetylase modulators provided by Mother Nature.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire du Cancer, Fondation de Recherche Cancer et Sang, Hôpital Kirchberg, 9 Rue Edward Steichen, 2540, Luxembourg, Luxembourg.


Protein acetylation status results from a balance between histone acetyltransferase and histone deacetylase (HDAC) activities. Alteration of this balance leads to a disruption of cellular integrity and participates in the development of numerous diseases, including cancer. Therefore, modulation of these activities appears to be a promising approach for anticancer therapy. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are epigenetically active drugs that induce the hyperacetylation of lysine residues within histone and non-histone proteins, thus affecting gene expression and cellular processes such as protein-protein interactions, protein stability, DNA binding and protein sub-cellular localization. Therefore, HDACi are promising anti-tumor agents as they may affect the cell cycle, inhibit proliferation, stimulate differentiation and induce apoptotic cell death. Over the last 30 years, numerous synthetic and natural products, including a broad range of dietary compounds, have been identified as HDACi. This review focuses on molecules from natural origins modulating HDAC activities and presenting promising anticancer activities.

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