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FEBS J. 2010 Apr;277(8):1805-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2010.07607.x. Epub 2010 Mar 4.

Mixed lineage leukemia: histone H3 lysine 4 methyltransferases from yeast to human.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA.


The fourth lysine of histone H3 is post-translationally modified by a methyl group via the action of histone methyltransferase, and such a covalent modification is associated with transcriptionally active and/or repressed chromatin states. Thus, histone H3 lysine 4 methylation has a crucial role in maintaining normal cellular functions. In fact, misregulation of this covalent modification has been implicated in various types of cancer and other diseases. Therefore, a large number of studies over recent years have been directed towards histone H3 lysine 4 methylation and the enzymes involved in this covalent modification in eukaryotes ranging from yeast to human. These studies revealed a set of histone H3 lysine 4 methyltransferases with important cellular functions in different eukaryotes, as discussed here.

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