2015 Volume 31 Issue 4 Pages 287-292
Histone deacetylases (HDACs) enzymes are responsible for removing epigenetic markers on histone proteins, which results in chromatin inactivation and gene repression. An evaluation of HDAC activity is essential for not only determining the physiological function of HDACs, but also for developing HDAC-targeting drugs. This review focuses on the chemical tools used to detect HDAC activity. We highlight activity-based probes and positron emission tomography probes based on the chemical structure of the inhibitors. We also summarize fluorogenic probes used in single-step methods for HDAC detection. These fluorogenic probes are designed based on the nucleophilicity of the amino group, aggregation via electrostatic interactions, and changes in the DNA binding properties. These fluorogenic systems may enable facile and rapid screening to evaluate HDAC inhibitors, which will contribute to the development of epigenetic drugs.