HDAC3 impacts multiple oncogenic pathways in colon cancer cells with effects on Wnt and vitamin D signaling

Cancer Biol Ther. 2008 Oct;7(10):1570-80. doi: 10.4161/cbt.7.10.6561. Epub 2008 Oct 7.


Histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) is overexpressed in approximately half of all colon adenocarcinomas. We took an RNAi approach to determine how HDAC3 influenced chromatin modifications and the expression of growth regulatory genes in colon cancer cells. A survey of histone modifications revealed that HDAC3 knockdown in SW480 cells significantly increased histone H4-K12 acetylation, a modification present during chromatin assembly that has been implicated in imprinting. This modification was found to be most prominent in proliferating cells in the intestinal crypt and in APC(Min) tumors, but was less pronounced in the tumors that overexpress HDAC3. Gene expression profiling of SW480 revealed that HDAC3 shRNA impacted the expression of genes in the Wnt and vitamin D signaling pathways. The impact of HDAC3 on Wnt signaling was complex, with both positive and negative effects observed. However, long-term knockdown of HDAC3 suppressed beta-catenin translocation from the plasma membrane to the nucleus, and increased expression of Wnt inhibitors TLE1, TLE4 and SMO. HDAC3 knockdown also enhanced expression of the TLE1 and TLE4 repressors in HT-29 and HCT116 cells. HDAC3 shRNA enhanced expression of the vitamin D receptor in SW480 and HCT116 cells, and rendered SW480 cells sensitive to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. We propose that HDAC3 overexpression alters the epigenetic programming of colon cancer cells to impact intracellular Wnt signaling and their sensitivity to external growth regulation by vitamin D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Butyrates / pharmacology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Models, Biological
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / metabolism
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Vitamin D / metabolism*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / metabolism


  • Butyrates
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • Vitamin D
  • Histone Deacetylases
  • histone deacetylase 3