Subtypes of non-Hodgkin's lymphomas align with different stages of B-cell development. Germinal center B-cell (GCB)-like diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), follicular lymphoma (FL) and Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) each share molecular similarities with normal GCB cells. Recent next-generation sequencing studies have gained insight into the genetic etiology of these malignancies and revealed a high frequency of mutations within genes encoding proteins that modifying chromatin. These include activating and inactivating mutations of genes that perform post-translational modification of histones and organize chromatin structure. Here, we discuss the function of histone acetyltransferases (CREBBP, EP300), histone methyltransferases (KDM2C/D, EZH2) and regulators of higher order chromatin structure (HIST1H1C/D/E, ARID1A and SMARCA4) that have been reported to be mutated in ≥5% of DLBCL, FL or BL. Mutations of these genes are an emerging hallmark of lymphomas with GCB-cell origins, and likely represent the next generation of therapeutic targets for these malignancies.
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