Since the identification of the first histone deacetylase (Taunton et al., Science 272, 408-411), several new members have been isolated. They can loosely be separated into entities on the basis of their similarity to various yeast histone deacetylases. The first class is represented by its closeness to the yeast Rpd3-like proteins, and the second most recently discovered class has similarities to yeast Hda1-like proteins. However, due to the fact that several different research groups isolated the Hda1-like histone deacetylases independently, there have been various different nomenclatures used to describe the various members, which can lead to confusion in the interpretation of this family's functions and interactions. With the discovery of another novel murine histone deacetylase, homologous to yeast Sir2, the number of members of this family is set to increase, as 7 human homologues of this gene have been isolated. In the light of these recent discoveries, we have examined the literature data and conducted a database analysis of the isolated histone deacetylases and potential candidates. The results obtained suggest that the number of histone deacetylases within the human genome may be as high as 17 and are discussed in relation to their homology to the yeast histone deacetylases.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.