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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2006, Article ID 13474, 10 pages
Review Article

Histone Deacetylase Enzymes as Potential Drug Targets in Cancer and Parasitic Diseases

1Service de Chirurgie Digestive et Générale, Hôpital Sainte Marguerite, 270 Boulevard de Sainte Marguerite, Marseille 13009, France
2IRD UR008 “Pathogénie des Trypanosomatidés”, Centre IRD de Montpellier, Institut de la Recherche pour le Développement, 911 Avenue Agropolis, BP 64501, Montpellier Cedex 5 34394, France

Received 29 December 2005; Revised 19 March 2006; Accepted 22 March 2006

Copyright © 2006 Mehdi Ouaissi and Ali Ouaissi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The elucidation of the mechanisms of transcriptional activation and repression in eukaryotic cells has shed light on the important role of acetylation-deacetylation of histones mediated by histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs), respectively. Another group belonging to the large family of sirtuins (silent information regulators (SIRs)) has an (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) NAD+-dependent HDAC activity. Several inhibitors of HDACs (HDIs) have been shown to exert antitumor effects. Interestingly, some of the HDIs exerted a broad spectrum of antiprotozoal activity. The purpose of this review is to analyze some of the current data related to the deacetylase enzymes as a possible target for drug development in cancer and parasitic diseases with special reference to protozoan infections. Given the structural differences among members of this family of enzymes, development of specific inhibitors will not only allow selective therapeutic intervention, but may also provide a powerful tool for functional study of these enzymes.