B cell lymphomas (BCLs) are characterized by widespread deregulation of gene expression compared with their normal B cell counterparts. Recent epigenomic studies defined cis-regulatory elements (REs) whose activities are altered in BCL to drive some of these pathogenic expression changes. During transformation, multiple mechanisms are employed to alter RE activities, including perturbations in the function of chromatin modifiers, which can lead to revision of the B cell epigenome. Inherited and somatic variants also alter RE function via disruption of transcription factor (TF) binding. Aberrant expression of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) deregulates genes involved in B cell differentiation via direct repression and post-transcriptional targeting. These discoveries have established epigenetic etiologies for B cell transformation that are being exploited in novel therapeutic approaches. Aberrant epigenomes and deregulated gene expression characterize BCL. Altered TF and enhancer activity modulate the output of transcriptional circuits. Mutations in chromatin modifiers and enhancers underlie some oncogenic changes in gene expression. Epigenetic changes that drive B cell transformation could provide targets for novel therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)720-731
Number of pages12
JournalTrends in Genetics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


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