The PLZF gene was identified first by its fusion with the retinoic acid receptor alpha gene in the t(11;17) translocation associated with a retinoic acid resistant form of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL). It encodes a krüppel-like zinc finger protein with a POZ domain shared with a subset of regulatory proteins including the BCL6 leukemogenic protein. PLZF, like BCL6, strongly represses transcription initiated from different promoters. Here we show that PLZF associates in vitro and in vivo with the Mad co-repressor mSin3A and the histone deacetylase HDAC1. Two domains in PLZF and the PAH1 structure of mSin3A mediate these interactions. Trichostatin A, a specific inhibitor of histone deacetylases, significantly reduces PLZF repression. These data strongly suggest that, like nuclear receptors and Mad, PLZF represses transcription by recruiting a histone deacetylase through the SMRT-mSin3-HDAC co-repressor complex. We also show that BCL6 associates with HDAC1 indicating that this type of regulation might be common to POZ/Zinc finger proteins involved in human leukemias. This work supports a role for deregulated histone deacetylation in the development of both lymphoid and myeloid neoplasia in human and suggests that targeted histone deacetylase inhibitors may be useful for treatment of certain types of malignancies.