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Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(1):59-65. doi:10.7150/ijbs.8.59


EZH2 Methyltransferase and H3K27 Methylation in Breast Cancer

Kyung Hyun Yoo, Lothar Hennighausen

Laboratory of Genetics and Physiology, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, 20892, USA


Histone modifications are thought to control the regulation of genetic programs in normal physiology and cancer. Methylation (mono-, di-, and tri-methylation) on histone H3 lysine (K) 27 induces transcriptional repression, and thereby participates in controlling gene expression patterns. Enhancer of zeste (EZH) 2, a methyltransferase and component of the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2), plays an essential role in the epigenetic maintenance of the H3K27me3 repressive chromatin mark. Abnormal EZH2 expression has been associated with various cancers including breast cancer. Here, we discuss the contribution of EZH2 and the PRC2 complex in controlling the H3K27 methylation status and subsequent consequences on genomic instability and the cell cycle in breast cancer cells. We also discuss distinct molecular mechanisms used by EZH2 to suppress BRCA1 functions.

Keywords: EZH2, H3K27 methylation, Breast cancer, BRCA1

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Yoo KH, Hennighausen L. EZH2 Methyltransferase and H3K27 Methylation in Breast Cancer. Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(1):59-65. doi:10.7150/ijbs.8.59. Available from