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Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors have proven useful therapeutic agents for certain hematologic cancers. However, HDAC inhibition causes diverse cellular outcomes, and identification of cancer-relevant pathways within these outcomes remains unresolved. In this study, we utilized an unbiased loss-of-function screen and identified the Toll-like receptor (TLR) adaptor protein MYD88 as a key regulator of the antiproliferative effects of HDAC inhibition. High expression of MYD88 exhibited increased sensitivity to HDAC inhibitors; conversely, low expression coincided with reduced sensitivity. MYD88-dependent TLR signaling controlled cytokine levels, which then acted via an extracellular mechanism to maintain cell proliferation and sensitize cells to HDAC inhibition. MYD88 activity was directly regulated through lysine acetylation and was deacetylated by HDAC6. MYD88 was a component of a wider acetylation signature in the ABC subgroup of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and one of the most frequent mutations in MYD88, L265P, conferred increased cell sensitivity to HDAC inhibitors. Our study defines acetylation of MYD88, which, by regulating TLR-dependent signaling to cytokine genes, influences the antiproliferative effects of HDAC inhibitors. Our results provide a possible explanation for the sensitivity of malignancies of hematologic origin to HDAC inhibitor-based therapy. Cancer Res; 76(23); 6975-87. ©2016 AACR.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer research

Publication Date





6975 - 6987


Department of Oncology, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Cell Line, Tumor, Humans, Cytokines, Transfection, Signal Transduction, Cell Proliferation, Toll-Like Receptors, Myeloid Differentiation Factor 88, Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors