Here, we report a novel non-epigenetic function of histone deacetylase (HDAC) 8 in activating cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties in breast cancer cells by enhancing the stability of Notch1 protein. The pan-HDAC inhibitors AR-42 and SAHA, and the class I HDAC inhibitor depsipeptide, suppressed mammosphere formation and other CSC markers by reducing Notch1 expression in MDA-MB-231 and SUM-159 cells. Interrogation of individual class I isoforms (HDAC1-3 and 8) using si/shRNAmediated knockdown, ectopic expression and/or pharmacological inhibition revealed HDAC8 to be the primary mediator of this drug effect. This suppression of Notch1 in response to HDAC8 inhibition was abrogated by the proteasome inhibitor MG132 and siRNA-induced silencing of Fbwx7, indicating Notch1 suppression occurred through proteasomal degradation. However, co-immunoprecipitation analysis indicated that HDAC8 did not form complexes with Notch1 and HDAC inhibition had no effect on Notch1 acetylation. In a xenograft tumor model, the tumorigenicity of breast cancer cells was decreased by HDAC8 knockdown. These findings suggest the therapeutic potential of HDAC8 inhibition to suppress Notch1 signaling in breast cancer.
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