Histone deacetylases (HDACs) are important epigenetic factors regulating a variety of vital cellular functions such as cell cycle progression, differentiation, cell migration, and apoptosis. Consequently, HDACs have emerged as promising targets for cancer therapy. The drugability of HDACs has been shown by the discovery of several structural classes of inhibitors (HDACis), particularly by the recent approval of two HDACis, vorinostat (ZOLINZA) and romidepsin (Istodax), for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma by the US Food and Drug Administration. The outstanding potential of HDACis, with a defined isoform selectivity profile as drugs against a plurality of diseases, vindicates increased effort in developing high-throughput capable assays for screening campaigns. In this study, a dual-competition assay exploiting changes in fluorescence anisotropy and lifetime was used to screen the LOPAC (Sigma-Aldrich, St Louis, MO) library against the bacterial histone deacetylase homologue HDAH from Bordetella, which shares 35% identity with the second deacetylase domain of HDAC6. The binding assay proved to be highly suitable for high-throughput screening campaigns. Several LOPAC compounds have been identified to inhibit HDAH in the lower micromolar range. Most interestingly, some of the hit compounds turned out to be weak but selective inhibitors of human class IIa and IIb HDACs.
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