Histone H3.3 Mutations: A Variant Path to Cancer

Benjamin T K Yuen, Paul S Knoepfler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


A host of cancer types exhibit aberrant histone modifications. Recently, distinct and recurrent mutations in a specific histone variant, histone H3.3, have been implicated in a high proportion of malignant pediatric brain cancers. The presence of mutant H3.3 histone disrupts epigenetic posttranslational modifications near genes involved in cancer processes and in brain function. Here, we review possible mechanisms by which mutant H3.3 histones may act to promote tumorigenesis. Furthermore, we discuss how perturbations in normal H3.3 chromatin-related and epigenetic functions may more broadly contribute to the formation of human cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-574
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 11 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Cell Biology
  • Oncology


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