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Histone Deacetylases Can Work Without Deacetylating Histones

By Anette Breindl
Science Editor

Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) help control how accessible DNA is to the transcription machinery of the cell. They were the first enzymes to be targeted by drugs trying to affect cellular epigenetics, and multiple companies are in multiple clinical trials for multiple indications with drugs that hope to join FDA-approved HDAC inhibitors Istodax (romidepsin, Celgene Corp.) and Zolinza (vorinostat, Merck & Co Inc.) on the market. But scientists from the University of Pennsylvania have demonstrated that in some cases, HDACs’ effects on cells are not due to their effects on histone acetylation, but through some other mechanism.

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