Histone deacetylase inhibitors decrease Toll-like receptor-mediated activation of proinflammatory gene expression by impairing transcription factor recruitment

Konrad A. Bode, Kate Schroder, David A. Hume, Timothy Ravasi, Klaus Heeg, Matthew J. Sweet, Alexander H. Dalpke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Post-translational modifications of histone proteins are major mechanisms that modify chromatin structure and regulate gene expression in eukaryotes. Activation of histone acetyltransferases or inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDACs) is generally believed to allow chromatin to assume a more open state, permitting transcriptional activity. We report here the surprising observation that treatment of murine dendritic cells with the HDAC inhibitors trichostatin A (TSA) or suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) in non-apoptotic concentrations strongly inhibited induction of both interleukin-12 protein p40 (IL-12p40) mRNA and protein upon stimulation of Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Moreover, TLR-mediated up-regulation of costimulatory molecules was also inhibited. Up-regulation of tumour necrosis factor-α mRNA and protein in response to TLR agonists was only affected upon prolonged exposure to HDAC inhibitors and regulation of IL-1β was not affected. Similar effects were apparent in murine and human macrophages. Regarding the mode of action, HDAC inhibition increased the acetylation status at the IL-12p40 locus. Nevertheless, IL-12p40 chromatin remodelling, binding of Rel-A and IRF1 to the IL-12p40 promoter and transcriptional activation were abrogated. In contrast, HDAC inhibitors had no effects on upstream nuclear factor-κB and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation. Thus HDACs positively regulate the expression of a subset of cytokine genes by enabling transcription factor recruitment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-606
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007


  • Chromatin modifications
  • Dendritic cells
  • Histone deacetylases
  • Interleukin-12
  • Toll-like receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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