The emerging role of class II histone deacetylases

W. Fischle, V. Kiermer, F. Dequiedt, E. Verdin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

162 Scopus citations


Histone acetylation and deacetylation play essential roles in modifying chromatin structure and regulating gene expression in all eukaryotes. Several histone acetyltransferases have been identified that act as transcriptional coactivators. In contrast, histone deacetylases (HDACs) are part of transcriptional corepressor complexes. Based on their similarity to known yeast factors, the human HDACs are grouped into three classes. Class I HDACs are similar to the yeast transcriptional repressor yRPD3, while class II HDACs are related to yHDA1 and class III HDACs to ySIR2. In this review, we focus on the biology of class II HDACs. These newly discovered enzymes have been implicated in cell differentiation and development, and many molecular details are emerging that shed light on class II HDAC function and regulation. We discuss the biological role of these factors in the context of physiological processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-348
Number of pages12
JournalBiochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Class II HDACs
  • Histone deacetylases
  • MEF2
  • Nucleocytoplasmic shuttling
  • Transcriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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