HDAC8 and STAT3 repress BMF gene activity in colon cancer cells

Y. Kang, H. Nian, P. Rajendran, W. M. Dashwood, J. T. Pinto, L. A. Boardman, S. N. Thibodeau, P. J. Limburg, C. V. Löhr, W. H. Bisson, D. E. Williams, E. Ho, R. H. Dashwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors are undergoing clinical trials as anticancer agents, but some exhibit resistance mechanisms linked to anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 functions, such as BH3-only protein silencing. HDAC inhibitors that reactivate BH3-only family members might offer an improved therapeutic approach. We show here that a novel seleno-a-keto acid triggers global histone acetylation in human colon cancer cells and activates apoptosis in a p21-independent manner. Profiling of multiple survival factors identified a critical role for the BH3-only member Bcl-2-modifying factor (Bmf). On the corresponding BMF gene promoter, loss of HDAC8 was associated with signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3)/specificity protein 3 (Sp3) transcription factor exchange and recruitment of p300. Treatment with a p300 inhibitor or transient overexpression of exogenous HDAC8 interfered with BMF induction, whereas RNAi-mediated silencing of STAT3 activated the target gene. This is the first report to identify a direct target gene of HDAC8 repression, namely, BMF. Interestingly, the repressive role of HDAC8 could be uncoupled from HDAC1 to trigger Bmf-mediated apoptosis. These findings have implications for the development of HDAC8-selective inhibitors as therapeutic agents, beyond the reported involvement of HDAC8 in childhood malignancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1476
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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