The many roles of histone deacetylases in development and physiology: implications for disease and therapy

Nat Rev Genet. 2009 Jan;10(1):32-42. doi: 10.1038/nrg2485.


Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are part of a vast family of enzymes that have crucial roles in numerous biological processes, largely through their repressive influence on transcription. The expression of many HDAC isoforms in eukaryotic cells raises questions about their possible specificity or redundancy, and whether they control global or specific programmes of gene expression. Recent analyses of HDAC knockout mice have revealed highly specific functions of individual HDACs in development and disease. Mutant mice lacking individual HDACs are a powerful tool for defining the functions of HDACs in vivo and the molecular targets of HDAC inhibitors in disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Cardiomegaly / metabolism
  • Cardiomegaly / therapy
  • Chondrocytes / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histone Deacetylases / genetics
  • Histone Deacetylases / physiology*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histones
  • Histone Deacetylases