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Chromosomal translocations affecting the AML-1 gene are among the most frequent aberrations found in acute leukemia. Because the AML-1 transcription factor is a critical regulator of hematopoeitic cell development, normal homeostasis is disrupted in cells containing these translocations. In this review we describe the mechanisms of transcriptional activation and repression by AML-1 and how this transcriptional control is disrupted by the chromosomal translocations that affect AML-1. Finally, we discuss how the mechanism of transcriptional repression by these chromosomal translocation fusion proteins is a possible target of therapeutic intervention in acute leukemia.