Glucocorticoids (GCs) act through the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) to regulate immunity, energy metabolism, and tissue repair. Upon ligand binding, activated GR mediates cellular effects by regulating gene expression, but some GR effects can occur rapidly without new transcription. We show GCs rapidly inhibit cell migration, in response to both GR agonist and antagonist ligand binding. The inhibitory effect on migration is prevented by GR knockdown with siRNA, confirming GR specificity, but not by actinomycin D treatment, suggesting a non-transcriptional mechanism. We identified a rapid onset increase in microtubule polymerisation following glucocorticoid treatment, identifying cytoskeletal stabilisation as the likely mechanism of action. HDAC6 overexpression, but not knockdown of αTAT1, rescued the GC effect, implicating HDAC6 as the GR effector. Consistent with this hypothesis, ligand-dependent cytoplasmic interaction between GR and HDAC6 was demonstrated by quantitative imaging. Taken together, we propose that activated GR inhibits HDAC6 function and thereby increases the stability of the microtubule network to reduce cell motility. We therefore report a novel, non-transcriptional mechanism whereby GCs impair cell motility through inhibition of HDAC6 and rapid reorganization of the cell architecture.
J Cell Sci
Cell migration, Glucocorticoid, HDAC6, Microtubule, Quantitative imaging