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MLL is a promiscuous gene involved in a diversity of chromosomal fusions in haematological malignancies, usually resulting from chromosomal translocations. MLL-associated chromosomal rearrangements usually occur in tumours of specific haematological lineages, suggesting a crucial role for the MLL fusion partner in determining disease phenotype (or tumour tropism). The MLL gene is homologous to Drosophila trithorax, and is likewise involved in embryo pattern formation. Common themes linking several of the MLL partners include a possible involvement in embryo patterning via Hox gene regulation and chromatin remodelling. These findings reinforce the link between developmental regulation and chromosomal translocations, and indicate the role of chromosomal translocation in activating genes capable of determining tumour phenotype in leukaemias and sarcomas.

Original publication




Journal article


Trends Mol Med

Publication Date





436 - 442


Animals, Body Patterning, Cell Differentiation, Chromatin, Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11, DNA-Binding Proteins, Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase, Humans, Myeloid-Lymphoid Leukemia Protein, Neoplasms, Proto-Oncogenes, Transcription Factors, Translocation, Genetic