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A class of enzymes that remove acetyl groups from N6-acetyl-lysine residues on a histone. The reaction of this enzyme is opposite to that of EC 126.96.36.199, histone acetyltransferase. Histone deacetylases (HDACs) can be organized into three classes, HDAC1, HDAC2 and HDAC3, depending on sequence similarity and domain organization. Histone acetylation plays an important role in regulation of gene expression. In eukaryotes, HDACs play a key role in the regulation of transcription and cell proliferation . May be identical to EC 188.8.131.52, acyl-lysine deacylase.