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The mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) family of proteins became known initially for the leukemia link of its founding member. Over the decades, the MLL family has been recognized as an important class of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methyltransferases that control key aspects of normal cell physiology and development. Here, we provide a brief history of the discovery and study of this family of proteins. We address two main questions: why are there so many H3K4 methyltransferases in mammals; and is H3K4 methylation their key function?

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Mol Life Sci

Publication Date





2885 - 2898


Development, Epigenetics, H3K4, Histone, MLL, Methylation, Transcription, Animals, Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase, Histones, Humans, Methylation, Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein, Protein Domains, Protein Isoforms