Despite being extensively characterized structurally and biochemically, the functional role of histone deacetylase 8 (HDAC8) has remained largely obscure due in part to a lack of known cellular substrates. Herein, we describe an unbiased approach using chemical tools in conjunction with sophisticated proteomics methods to identify novel non-histone nuclear substrates of HDAC8, including the tumor suppressor ARID1A. These newly discovered substrates of HDAC8 are involved in diverse biological processes including mitosis, transcription, chromatin remodeling, and RNA splicing and may help guide therapeutic strategies that target the function of HDAC8.
Post-translational modifications of histones alter chromatin structure and play key roles in gene expression and specification of cell states. Small molecules that target chromatin-modifying enzymes selectively are useful as probes and have promise as therapeutics, although very few are currently available. G9a (also named euchromatin histone methyltransferase 2 (EHMT2)) catalyzes methylation of lysine 9 on histone H3 (H3K9), a modification linked to aberrant silencing of tumor-suppressor genes, among others. Here, we report the discovery of a novel histone methyltransferase inhibitor, BRD4770. This compound reduced cellular levels of di- and trimethylated H3K9 without inducing apoptosis, induced senescence, and inhibited both anchorage-dependent and -independent proliferation in the pancreatic cancer cell line PANC-1. ATM-pathway activation, caused by either genetic or small-molecule inhibition of G9a, may mediate BRD4770-induced cell senescence. BRD4770 may be a useful tool to study G9a and its role in senescence and cancer cell biology.
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