BRD4 associates with p53 in DNMT3A-mutated leukemia cells and is implicated in apoptosis by the bromodomain inhibitor JQ1

Stewart, H. J. S., Horne, G. A. , Bastow, S. and Chevassut, T. J. T. (2013) BRD4 associates with p53 in DNMT3A-mutated leukemia cells and is implicated in apoptosis by the bromodomain inhibitor JQ1. Cancer Medicine, 2(6), pp. 826-835. (doi: 10.1002/cam4.146) (PMID:24403256) (PMCID:PMC3892387)

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The bromodomain and extra terminal (BET) family protein bromodomain containing protein 4 (BRD4) is an epigenetic regulator recently identified as a therapeutic target for several hematological cancers, notably mixed lineage leukemia-fusion acute myeloid leukemia (MLL-AML). Here, we show that the BRD4 bromodomain inhibitor JQ1 is highly active against the p53-wild-type Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI)-AML3 cell line which carries mutations in nucleophosmin (NPM1) and DNA methyltransferase 3 (DNMT3A) genes commonly associated with poor prognostic disease. We find that JQ1 causes caspase 3/7-mediated apoptosis and DNA damage response in these cells. In combination studies, we show that histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, the HDM2 inhibitor Nutlin-3, and the anthracycline daunorubicin all enhance the apoptotic response of JQ1. These compounds all induce activation of p53 suggesting that JQ1 might sensitize AML cells to p53-mediated cell death. In further experiments, we show that BRD4 associates with acetylated p53 but that this association is not inhibited by JQ1 indicating that the protein–protein interaction does not involve bromodomain binding of acetylated lysines. Instead, we propose that JQ1 acts to prevent BRD4-mediated recruitment of p53 to chromatin targets following its activation in OCI-AML3 cells resulting in cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in a c-MYC-independent manner. Our data suggest that BET bromodomain inhibition might enhance current chemotherapy strategies in AML, notably in poor-risk DNMT3A/NPM1-mutated disease.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Horne, Dr Gillian
Authors: Stewart, H. J. S., Horne, G. A., Bastow, S., and Chevassut, T. J. T.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Cancer Medicine
ISSN (Online):Cancer Medicine
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in Cancer Medicine 2(6):826-835
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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