This mini-review will schematically update the progress of the expanding Mi-2/Nucleosome Remodeling Deacetylase (NuRD) complexes in cancer and in normal development such as stemness, with a focus on mammals and the increasingly popular and powerful model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. The Mi-2/NuRD complexes control gene activity during the development of complex organisms. Every Mi-2/NuRD complex contains many different core polypeptides, which form distinct multifunctional complexes with specific context-dependent regulators. The Mi-2/NuRD complexes have unique ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling, histone deacetylase, demethylase activities and higher order chromatin organization. They can regulate the accessibility of transcription factors or repair proteins to DNA. In this review, we summarize our current knowleges in the composition, interaction and function of the subunits within the Mi-2/NuRD complex, the methodology used for the identification of Mi-2/NuRD complexes, as well as the clinical and therapeutic implications targeting the Mi-2/NuRD subunits.
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