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Keywords:

  • cancer;
  • differentiation;
  • epigenetics;
  • PRDM;
  • transcription

Abstract

The PRDM family has recently spawned considerable interest as it has been implicated in fundamental aspects of cellular differentiation and exhibits expanding ties to human diseases. The PRDMs belong to the SET domain family of histone methyltransferases, however, enzymatic activity has been determined for only few PRDMs suggesting that they act by recruiting co-factors or, more speculatively, confer methylation of non-histone targets. Several PRDM family members are deregulated in human diseases, most prominently in hematological malignancies and solid cancers, where they can act as both tumor suppressors or drivers of oncogenic processes. The molecular mechanisms have been delineated for only few PRDMs and little is known about functional redundancy within the family. Future studies should identify target genes of PRDM proteins and the protein complexes in which PRDM proteins reside to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the biological and biochemical functions of this important protein family.