Discovered for their ability to deacetylate histones and repress transcription, HDACs are a promising target for therapy of human diseases. The class II HDACs are mainly involved in developmental and differentiation processes, such as myogenesis. We report here that class I and class II HDAC inhibitors such as SAHA or the class II selective inhibitor MC1568 induce down-regulation of class II HDACs in human cells. In particular, both SAHA and MC1568 induce HDAC 4 down-regulation by increasing its specific sumoylation followed by activation of proteasomal pathways of degradation. Sumoylation that corresponds to HDAC 4 nuclear localization results in a transient increase of the HDAC 4 repressive action on target genes such as RARalpha and TNFalpha. The HDAC 4 degradation that follows to its sumoylation results in gene target activation. Silencing of the RANBP2 E3 ligase reverts HDAC 4 repression by blocking its own sumoylation. These findings identify a crosstalk occurring between acetylation, deacetylation and sumoylation pathways and suggest that class II specific HDAC inhibitors may affect different epigenetic pathways.