PloS one

HDAC6 deacetylase activity is required for hypoxia-induced invadopodia formation and cell invasion.

PMID 23405166


Despite significant progress in the cancer field, tumor cell invasion and metastasis remain a major clinical challenge. Cell invasion across tissue boundaries depends largely on extracellular matrix degradation, which can be initiated by formation of actin-rich cell structures specialized in matrix degradation called invadopodia. Although the hypoxic microenvironment within solid tumors has been increasingly recognized as an important driver of local invasion and metastasis, little is known about how hypoxia influences invadopodia biogenesis. Here, we show that histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6), a cytoplasmic member of the histone deacetylase family, is a novel modulator of hypoxia-induced invadopodia formation. Hypoxia was found to enhance HDAC6 tubulin deacetylase activity through activation of the EGFR pathway. Activated HDAC6, in turn, triggered Smad3 phosphorylation resulting in nuclear accumulation. Inhibition of HDAC6 activity or knockdown of the protein inhibited both hypoxia-induced Smad3 activation and invadopodia formation. Our data provide evidence that hypoxia influences invadopodia formation in a biphasic manner, which involves the activation of HDAC6 deacetylase activity by EGFR, resulting in enhanced Smad phosphorylation and nuclear accumulation. The identification of HDAC6 as a key participant of hypoxia-induced cell invasion may have important therapeutic implications for the treatment of metastasis in cancer patients.