Histone deacetylases (HDACs) regulate the acetylation of histones in the control of gene expression. Many non-histone proteins are also targeted for acetylation, including TGF-β signalling pathway components such as Smad2, Smad3 and Smad7. Our studies in mouse C3H10T1/2 fibroblasts suggested that a number of TGF-β-induced genes that regulate matrix turnover are selectively regulated by HDACs. Blockade of HDAC activity with trichostatin A (TSA) abrogated the induction of a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 12 (Adam12) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (Timp-1) genes by TGF-β, whereas plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (Pai-1) expression was unaffected. Analysis of the activation of cell signalling pathways demonstrated that TGF-β induced robust ERK and PI3K activation with delayed kinetics compared to the phosphorylation of Smads. The TGF-β induction of Adam12 and Timp-1 was dependent on such non-Smad signalling pathways and, importantly, HDAC inhibitors completely blocked their activation without affecting Smad signalling. Analysis of TGF-β-induced Adam12 and Timp-1 expression and ERK/PI3K signalling in the presence of semi-selective HDAC inhibitors valproic acid, MS-275 and apicidin implicated a role for class I HDACs. Furthermore, depletion of HDAC3 by RNA interference significantly down-regulated TGF-β-induced Adam12 and Timp-1 expression without modulating Pai-1 expression. Correlating with the effect of HDAC inhibitors, depletion of HDAC3 also blocked the activation of ERK and PI3K by TGF-β. Collectively, these data confirm that HDACs, and in particular HDAC3, are required for activation of the ERK and PI3K signalling pathways by TGF-β and for the subsequent gene induction dependent on these signalling pathways.
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