BET N-terminal bromodomain inhibition selectively blocks Th17 cell differentiation and ameliorates colitis in mice
ABSTRACT: We analyzed the transcriptomic changes and Brd4 global occupancy in Th17 cells treated with JQ1 and MS402. We find that MS402 selectively targets Th17 cells and displaces Brd4 occupancy at Th17-selective genes. Overall design: RNA-seq samples were analyzed from Th17 cells treated with JQ1 and MS402. ChIP-seq samples were analyzed to determine global Brd4 occupancy in response to MS402 treatement.
Project description:T-helper 17 (Th17) cells have important functions in adaptor immunity and have also been implicated in inflammatory disorders. The bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) family proteins regulate gene transcription during lineage-specific differentiation of naïve CD4+ T cells to produce mature T-helper cells. Inhibition of acetyl-lysine binding of the BET proteins by pan-BET bromodomain (BrD) inhibitors, such as JQ1, broadly affects differentiation of Th17, Th1, and Th2 cells that have distinct immune functions, thus limiting their therapeutic potential. Whether these BET proteins represent viable new epigenetic drug targets for inflammatory disorders has remained an unanswered question. In this study, we report that selective inhibition of the first bromodomain of BET proteins with our newly designed small molecule MS402 inhibits primarily Th17 cell differentiation with a little or almost no effect on Th1 or Th2 and Treg cells. MS402 preferentially renders Brd4 binding to Th17 signature gene loci over those of housekeeping genes and reduces Brd4 recruitment of p-TEFb to phosphorylate and activate RNA polymerase II for transcription elongation. We further show that MS402 prevents and ameliorates T-cell transfer-induced colitis in mice by blocking Th17 cell overdevelopment. Thus, selective pharmacological modulation of individual bromodomains likely represents a strategy for treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Project description:As a class, 'BET' inhibitors disrupt binding of bromodomain and extra-terminal motif (BET) proteins, BRD2, BRD3, BRD4 and BRDT, to acetylated histones preventing recruitment of RNA polymerase 2 to enhancers and promoters, especially super-enhancers, to inhibit gene transcription. As such, BET inhibitors may be useful therapeutics for treatment of cancer and inflammatory disease. For example, the small molecule BET inhibitor, JQ1, selectively represses MYC, an important oncogene regulated by a super-enhancer. IFN-γ, a critical cytokine for both innate and adaptive immune responses, is also regulated by a super-enhancer. Here, we show that JQ1 represses IFN-γ expression in TH1 polarized PBMC cultures, CD4+ memory T cells, and NK cells. JQ1 treatment does not reduce activating chromatin marks at the IFNG locus, but displaces RNA polymerase II from the locus. Further, IFN-γ expression recovers in polarized TH1 cultures following removal of JQ1. Our results show that JQ1 abrogates IFN-γ expression, but repression is reversible. Thus, BET inhibitors may disrupt the normal functions of the innate and adaptive immune response.
Project description:Renal inflammation has a key role in the onset and progression of immune- and nonimmune-mediated renal diseases. Therefore, the search for novel anti-inflammatory pharmacologic targets is of great interest in renal pathology. JQ1, a small molecule inhibitor of bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) proteins, was previously found to preserve renal function in experimental polycystic kidney disease. We report here that JQ1-induced BET inhibition modulated the in vitro expression of genes involved in several biologic processes, including inflammation and immune responses. Gene silencing of BRD4, an important BET protein, and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that JQ1 alters the direct association of BRD4 with acetylated histone-packaged promoters and reduces the transcription of proinflammatory genes (IL-6, CCL-2, and CCL-5). In vivo, JQ1 abrogated experimental renal inflammation in murine models of unilateral ureteral obstruction, antimembrane basal GN, and infusion of Angiotensin II. Notably, JQ1 downregulated the expression of several genes controlled by the NF-?B pathway, a key inflammatory signaling pathway. The RelA NF-?B subunit is activated by acetylation of lysine 310. In damaged kidneys and cytokine-stimulated renal cells, JQ1 reduced the nuclear levels of RelA NF-?B. Additionally, JQ1 dampened the activation of the Th17 immune response in experimental renal damage. Our results show that inhibition of BET proteins reduces renal inflammation by several mechanisms: chromatin remodeling in promoter regions of specific genes, blockade of NF-?B pathway activation, and modulation of the Th17 immune response. These results suggest that inhibitors of BET proteins could have important therapeutic applications in inflammatory renal diseases.
Project description:The bromodomain protein Brd4 is an epigenetic reader and plays a critical role in the development and maintenance of leukemia. Brd4 binds to acetylated histone tails and activates transcription by recruiting the positive elongation factor P-TEFb. Small molecule inhibitor JQ1 competitively binds the bromodomains of Brd4 and displaces the protein from acetylated histones. However, it remains unclear whether genes targeted by JQ1 are mainly regulated by Brd4 or by other bromodomain proteins such as Brd2 and Brd3. Here, we describe anti-proliferative dominant-negative Brd4 mutants that compete with the function of distinct Brd4 domains. We used these Brd4 mutants to compare the Brd4-specific transcriptome with the transcriptome of JQ1-treated cells. We found that most JQ1-regulated genes are also regulated by dominant-negative Brd4 mutants, including the mutant that competes with the P-TEFb recruitment function of Brd4. Importantly, JQ1 and dominant-negative Brd4 mutants regulated the same set of target genes of c-Myc, a key regulator of the JQ1 response in leukemia cells. Our results suggest that Brd4 mediates most of the anti-cancer effects of JQ1 and that the major function of Brd4 in this process is the recruitment of P-TEFb. In summary, our studies define the molecular targets of JQ1 in more detail.
Project description:Endotoxemia is a severe inflammation response induced by infection especially bacterial endotoxin translocation, which severely increases mortality in combination with acute colon injury. Bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) is an important Bromo and Extra-Terminal (BET) protein to participate in inflammatory responses. However, it is still unknown about the specific connection between BRD4 and inflammation-related pyroptosis in endotoxemia colon. Here, through evaluating the mucous morphology and the expression of tight junction proteins such as occludin and ZO1, we found the upregulation of BRD4 in damaged colon with poor tight junction in an endotoxemia mouse model induced by lipopolysaccharides (LPS). Firstly, the BRD4 inhibitor JQ1 was used to effectively protect colon tight junction in endotoxemia. As detected, high levels of pro-inflammation cytokines IL6, IL1? and IL18 in endotoxemia colon were reversed by JQ1 pretreatment. In addition, JQ1 injection reduced endotoxemia-induced elevation of the phosphorylated NF ?B and NLRP3/ASC/caspase 1 inflammasome complex in colon injury. Furthermore, activated pyroptosis markers gasdermins in endotoxemia colon were also blocked by JQ1 pretreatment. Together, our data indicate that BRD4 plays a critical role in regulating pyroptosis-related colon injury induced by LPS, and JQ1 as a BRD4 inhibitors can effectively protect colon from endotoxemia-induced inflammation injury.
Project description:Epigenetic proteins are intently pursued targets in ligand discovery. So far, successful efforts have been limited to chromatin modifying enzymes, or so-called epigenetic 'writers' and 'erasers'. Potent inhibitors of histone binding modules have not yet been described. Here we report a cell-permeable small molecule (JQ1) that binds competitively to acetyl-lysine recognition motifs, or bromodomains. High potency and specificity towards a subset of human bromodomains is explained by co-crystal structures with bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) family member BRD4, revealing excellent shape complementarity with the acetyl-lysine binding cavity. Recurrent translocation of BRD4 is observed in a genetically-defined, incurable subtype of human squamous carcinoma. Competitive binding by JQ1 displaces the BRD4 fusion oncoprotein from chromatin, prompting squamous differentiation and specific antiproliferative effects in BRD4-dependent cell lines and patient-derived xenograft models. These data establish proof-of-concept for targeting protein-protein interactions of epigenetic 'readers', and provide a versatile chemical scaffold for the development of chemical probes more broadly throughout the bromodomain family.
Project description:Inhibition of bromodomain and extraterminal motif (BET) proteins such as BRD4 bears great promise for cancer treatment and its efficacy has been frequently attributed to Myc downregulation. Here, we use B-cell tumors as a model to address the mechanism of action of JQ1, a widely used BET inhibitor. Although JQ1 led to widespread eviction of BRD4 from chromatin, its effect on gene transcription was limited to a restricted set of genes. This was unlinked to Myc downregulation or its chromatin association. Yet, JQ1-sensitive genes were enriched for Myc and E2F targets, were expressed at high levels, and showed high promoter occupancy by RNAPol2, BRD4, Myc and E2F. Their marked decrease in transcriptional elongation upon JQ1 treatment, indicated that BRD4-dependent promoter clearance was rate limiting for transcription. At JQ1-insensitive genes the drop in transcriptional elongation still occurred, but was compensated by enhanced RNAPol2 recruitment. Similar results were obtained with other inhibitors of transcriptional elongation. Thus, the selective transcriptional effects following JQ1 treatment are linked to the inability of JQ1-sensitive genes to sustain compensatory RNAPol2 recruitment to promoters. These observations highlight the role of BET proteins in supporting transcriptional elongation and rationalize how a general suppression of elongation may selectively affects transcription.
Project description:Pathologic c-Myc expression is frequently detected in human cancers, including Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC), an aggressive skin cancer with no cure for metastatic disease. Bromodomain protein 4 (BRD4) regulates gene transcription by binding to acetylated histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27Ac) on the chromatin. Super-enhancers of transcription are identified by enrichment of H3K27Ac. BET inhibitor JQ1 disrupts BRD4 association with super-enhancers, downregulates proto-oncogenes, such as c-Myc, and displays antitumor activity in preclinical animal models of human cancers. Here we show that an enhancer proximal to the c-Myc promoter is enriched in H3K27Ac and associated with high occupancy of BRD4, and coincides with a putative c-Myc super-enhancer in MCC cells. This observation is mirrored in tumors from MCC patients. Importantly, depleted BRD4 occupancy at the putative c-Myc super-enhancer region by JQ1 correlates with decreased c-Myc expression. Thus, our study provides initial evidence that super-enhancers regulate c-Myc expression in MCC.
Project description:Transcriptional elongation by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) is regulated by positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) in association with Bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4). We used genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing in primary human CD4+ T cells to reveal that BRD4 co-localizes with Ser2-phosphorylated Pol II (Pol II Ser2) at both enhancers and promoters of active genes. Disruption of bromodomain:histone acetylation interactions by JQ1, a small-molecule bromodomain inhibitor, resulted in decreased BRD4 binding, reduced Pol II Ser2, and reduced expression of lineage-specific genes in primary human CD4+ T cells. A large number of JQ1-disrupted BRD4 binding regions exhibited di-acetylated H4 (lysine-5 and -8) and H3K27 acetylation (H3K27ac), which correlated with the presence of histone acetyltransferases and deacetylases. Genes associated with BRD4/H3K27ac co-occupancy exhibited significantly higher activity than those associated with H3K27ac or BRD4 binding alone. Comparison of BRD4 binding in T cells and in human embryonic stem cells revealed that enhancer BRD4 binding sites were predominantly lineage-specific. Our findings suggest that BRD4-driven Pol II phosphorylation at serine 2 plays an important role in regulating lineage-specific gene transcription in human CD4+ T cells. Examination of BRD4, total Pol II, serine 2 phosphorylated Pol II and serine 5 phosphorylated Pol II binding in CD4+ T cells (with and without JQ1 treatment) and BRD4 binding in human embryonic stems cell; PolyA RNA expression in CD4+ T cells( with and without JQ1 treatment) using RNA-seq
Project description:(+)-JQ1 is an inhibitor of the tumor-driver bromodomain protein BRD4 and produces satisfactory effects because it efficiently increases apoptosis. Ferroptosis is an oxidative cell death program differing from apoptosis. Ferroptosis is characterized by high levels of iron and reactive oxygen species and has been confirmed to suppress tumor growth. In this study, BRD4 expression in cancer and its influence on the prognosis of cancer patients were analyzed using data from public databases. In addition, the effect of the BRD4 inhibitor (+)-JQ1 on ferroptosis was investigated via a series of in vitro assays. A nude mouse model was used to evaluate the function of (+)-JQ1 in ferroptosis in vivo. The potential mechanisms by which (+)-JQ1 regulates ferroptosis were explored. The results showed that BRD4 expression levels were higher in cancer tissues than in normal tissues and were related to poor prognosis in cancer patients. Furthermore, ferroptosis was induced under (+)-JQ1 treatment and BRD4 knockdown, indicating that (+)-JQ1 induces ferroptosis via BRD4 inhibition. Moreover, the anticancer effect of (+)-JQ1 was enhanced by ferroptosis inducers. Further studies confirmed that (+)-JQ1 induced ferroptosis via ferritinophagy, which featured autophagy enhancement by (+)-JQ1 and increased iron levels. Subsequently, the reactive oxygen species levels were increased by iron via the Fenton reaction, leading to ferroptosis. In addition, expression of the ferroptosis-associated genes GPX4, SLC7A11, and SLC3A2 was downregulated under (+)-JQ1 treatment and BRD4 knockdown, indicating that (+)-JQ1 may regulate ferroptosis by controlling the expression of ferroptosis-associated genes regulated by BRD4. Finally, (+)-JQ1 regulated ferritinophagy and the expression of ferroptosis-associated genes via epigenetic inhibition of BRD4 by suppressing the expression of the histone methyltransferase G9a or enhancing the expression of the histone deacetylase SIRT1. In summary, the BRD4 inhibitor (+)-JQ1 induces ferroptosis via ferritinophagy or the regulation of ferroptosis-associated genes through epigenetic repression of BRD4.