Hematopoietic development is governed by the coordinated expression of lineage- and differentiation stage-specific genes. Transcription factors play major roles in this process and their perturbation may underlie hematologic and immunologic disorders. Nearly 1900 transcription factors are encoded in the human genome: of these, 49 BTB (for broad-complex, tram-track and bric à brac)-zinc finger transcription factors referred to as ZBTB or POK proteins have been identified. ZBTB proteins, including BCL6, PLZF, ThPOK and LRF, exhibit a broad spectrum of functions in normal and malignant hematopoiesis. This review summarizes developmental and molecular functions of ZBTB proteins relevant to hematology.
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