APCs are critical in T cell activation and in the induction of T cell tolerance. Epigenetic modifications of specific genes in the APC play a key role in this process, and among them histone deacetylases (HDACs) have emerged as key participants. HDAC6, one of the members of this family of enzymes, has been shown to be involved in regulation of inflammatory and immune responses. In this study, to our knowledge we show for the first time that genetic or pharmacologic disruption of HDAC6 in macrophages and dendritic cells results in diminished production of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10 and induction of inflammatory APCs that effectively activate Ag-specific naive T cells and restore the responsiveness of anergic CD4+ T cells. Mechanistically, we have found that HDAC6 forms a previously unknown molecular complex with STAT3, association that was detected in both the cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments of the APC. By using HDAC6 recombinant mutants we identified the domain comprising amino acids 503-840 as being required for HDAC6 interaction with STAT3. Furthermore, by re-chromatin immunoprecipitation we confirmed that HDAC6 and STAT3 are both recruited to the same DNA sequence within the Il10 gene promoter. Of note, disruption of this complex by knocking down HDAC6 resulted in decreased STAT3 phosphorylation-but no changes in STAT3 acetylation-as well as diminished recruitment of STAT3 to the Il10 gene promoter region. The additional demonstration that a selective HDAC6 inhibitor disrupts this STAT3/IL-10 tolerogenic axis points to HDAC6 as a novel molecular target in APCs to overcome immune tolerance and tips the balance toward T cell immunity.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by Public Health Service Grants CA100850, CA87583, CA134807 (to E.M.S.), and 1R21CA153246 (to A.V.).
Copyright © 2014 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.