[en] Histone deacetylases (HDACs) form a family of enzymes, which have fundamental roles in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression and contribute to the growth, differentiation, and apoptosis of cancer cells. In this study, we further investigated the biological function of HDAC5 in cancer cells. We found HDAC5 is associated with actively replicating pericentric heterochromatin during late S phase. We demonstrated that specific depletion of HDAC5 by RNA interference resulted in profound changes in the heterochromatin structure and slowed down ongoing replication forks. This defect in heterochromatin maintenance and assembly are sensed by DNA damage checkpoint pathways, which triggered cancer cells to autophagy and apoptosis, and arrested their growth both in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we also demonstrated that HDAC5 depletion led to enhanced sensitivity of DNA to DNA-damaging agents, suggesting that heterochromatin de-condensation induced by histone HDAC5 silencing may enhance the efficacy of cytotoxic agents that act by targeting DNA in vitro. Together, these results highlighted for the first time an unrecognized link between HDAC5 and the maintenance/assembly of heterochromatin structure, and demonstrated that its specific inhibition might contribute to increase the efficacy of DNA alteration-based cancer therapies in clinic.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Centre anti-cancéreux près de l'ULg ; Fonds Léon Fredericq ; Télévie