The ALOX5 gene encodes 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO), a key enzyme of inflammatory reactions, which is transcriptionally activated by trichostatin A (TSA). Physiologically, 5-LO expression is induced by calcitriol and/or transforming growth factor-β. Regulation of 5-LO mRNA involves promoter activation and elongation control within the 3'-portion of the ALOX5 gene. Here we focused on the ALOX5 promoter region. Transcriptional initiation was associated with an increase in histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation in a TSA-inducible manner. Therefore, we investigated the effects of the MLL (mixed lineage leukemia) protein and its derivatives, MLL-AF4 and AF4-MLL, respectively. MLL-AF4 was able to enhance ALOX5 promoter activity by 47-fold, which was further stimulated when either vitamin D receptor and retinoid X receptor or SMAD3/SMAD4 were co-transfected. In addition, we investigated several histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) in combination with gene knockdown experiments (HDAC1-3, MLL). We were able to demonstrate that a combined inhibition of HDAC1-3 induces ALOX5 promoter activity in an MLL-dependent manner. Surprisingly, a constitutive activation of ALOX5 by MLL-AF4 was inhibited by class I HDAC inhibitors, by relieving inhibitory functions deriving from MLL.Conversely, a knockdown of MLL increased the effects mediated by MLL-AF4. Thus, HDACi treatment seems to switch 'inactive MLL' into 'active MLL' and overwrites the dominant functions deriving from MLL-AF4.