The objective of this study was to determine the role of histone deacetylases (HDACs) in regulating HIF-1α protein stability and activity in nucleus pulposus (NP) cells. Treatment of NP cells with pan-HDAC inhibitor TSA resulted in decreased HIF-1α levels under both normoxia and hypoxia in a dose-dependent fashion. TSA-mediated HIF-1α degradation was rescued by concomitant inhibition of not only the 26S proteasome but also PHD2 function. Moreover, TSA treatment of PHD2(-/-) cells had little effect on HIF-1α levels, supporting the notion that inhibition of PHD2 function by HDACs contributed to HIF-1α stabilization. Surprisingly, class-specific HDAC inhibitors did not affect HIF-1α protein stability, indicating that multiple HDACs controlled HIF-1α stability by regulating HIF-1α-PHD2 interaction in NP cells. Interestingly, lower-dose TSA that did not affect HIF-1α stability decreased its activity and target gene expression. Likewise, rescue of TSA-mediated HIF-1α protein degradation by blocking proteasomal or PHD activity did not restore HIF-1 activity, suggesting that HDACs independently regulate HIF-1α stability and activity. Noteworthy, selective inhibition of HDAC6 and not of class I and IIa HDACs decreased HIF-1-mediated transcription under hypoxia to a similar extent as lower-dose TSA, contrasting the reported role of HDAC6 as a transcriptional repressor in other cell types. Moreover, HDAC6 inhibition completely blocked TSA effects on HIF-1 activity. HDAC6 associated with and deacetylated HSP90, an important cofactor for HIF-1 function in NP cells, and HDAC6 inhibition decreased p300 transactivation in NP cells. Taken together, these results suggest that although multiple class I and class IIa HDACs control HIF-1 stability, HDAC6, a class IIb HDAC, is a novel mediator of HIF-1 activity in NP cells possibly through promoting action of critical HIF-1 cofactors. © 2016 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.