The molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) and its accessory cochaperones function by facilitating the structural maturation and complex assembly of client proteins, including steroid hormone receptors and selected kinases. By promoting the activity and stability of these signaling proteins, Hsp90 has emerged as a critical modulator in cell signaling. Here, we present evidence that Hsp90 chaperone activity is regulated by reversible acetylation and controlled by the deacetylase HDAC6. We show that HDAC6 functions as an Hsp90 deacetylase. Inactivation of HDAC6 leads to Hsp90 hyperacetylation, its dissociation from an essential cochaperone, p23, and a loss of chaperone activity. In HDAC6-deficient cells, Hsp90-dependent maturation of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) is compromised, resulting in GR defective in ligand binding, nuclear translocation, and transcriptional activation. Our results identify Hsp90 as a target of HDAC6 and suggest reversible acetylation as a unique mechanism that regulates Hsp90 chaperone complex activity.
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