1. Inhibition of cGAS-STING by JQ1 alleviates oxidative stress-induced retina inflammation and degeneration
Ming Zou, Qin Ke, Qian Nie, Ruili Qi, Xingfei Zhu, Wei Liu, Xuebin Hu, Qian Sun, Jia-Ling Fu, Xiangcheng Tang, Yizhi Liu, David Wan-Cheng Li, Lili Gong Cell Death Differ. 2022 Sep;29(9):1816-1833.doi: 10.1038/s41418-022-00967-4.Epub 2022 Mar 28.
Atrophic ("dry") form of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss characterized by macular retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and the ensuing photoreceptor degeneration. cGAS-STING signaling is a key cytosolic DNA sensor system in innate immunity and have recently been shown promotes RPE degeneration. However, expression regulation and therapeutic potential of cGAS and STING are not explored in retina under dry AMD pathogenic conditions. Our analysis shows upregulated STING RNA and increased chromatin accessibility around cGAS and STING promoters in macular retinas from dry AMD patients. cGAS-STING activation was detected in oxidative stress-induced mouse retina degeneration, accompanied with cytosolic leakage of damaged DNA in photoreceptors. Pharmaceutical or genetic approaches indicates STING promotes retina inflammation and degeneration upon oxidative damage. Drug screening reveals that BRD4 inhibitor JQ1 reduces cGAS-STING activation, inflammation and photoreceptor degeneration in the injured retina. BRD4 inhibition epigenetically suppresses STING transcription, and promotes autophagy-dependent cytosolic DNA clearance. Together, our results show that activation of cGAS-STING in retina may present pivotal innate immunity response in GA pathogenesis, whereas inhibition of cGAS-STING signaling by JQ1 could serve as a potential therapeutic strategy.
2. ecDNA hubs drive cooperative intermolecular oncogene expression
King L Hung, Kathryn E Yost, Liangqi Xie, Quanming Shi, et al. Nature. 2021 Dec;600(7890):731-736.doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04116-8.Epub 2021 Nov 24.
Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) is prevalent in human cancers and mediates high expression of oncogenes through gene amplification and altered gene regulation1. Gene induction typically involves cis-regulatory elements that contact and activate genes on the same chromosome2,3. Here we show that ecDNA hubs-clusters of around 10-100 ecDNAs within the nucleus-enable intermolecular enhancer-gene interactions to promote oncogene overexpression. ecDNAs that encode multiple distinct oncogenes form hubs in diverse cancer cell types and primary tumours. Each ecDNA is more likely to transcribe the oncogene when spatially clustered with additional ecDNAs. ecDNA hubs are tethered by the bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) protein BRD4 in a MYC-amplified colorectal cancer cell line. The BET inhibitor JQ1 disperses ecDNA hubs and preferentially inhibits ecDNA-derived-oncogene transcription. The BRD4-bound PVT1 promoter is ectopically fused to MYC and duplicated in ecDNA, receiving promiscuous enhancer input to drive potent expression of MYC. Furthermore, the PVT1 promoter on an exogenous episome suffices to mediate gene activation in trans by ecDNA hubs in a JQ1-sensitive manner. Systematic silencing of ecDNA enhancers by CRISPR interference reveals intermolecular enhancer-gene activation among multiple oncogene loci that are amplified on distinct ecDNAs. Thus, protein-tethered ecDNA hubs enable intermolecular transcriptional regulation and may serve as units of oncogene function and cooperative evolution and as potential targets for cancer therapy.
3. Small molecule JQ1 promotes prostate cancer invasion via BET-independent inactivation of FOXA1
Leiming Wang, Mafei Xu, Chung-Yang Kao, Sophia Y Tsai, Ming-Jer Tsai J Clin Invest. 2020 Apr 1;130(4):1782-1792.doi: 10.1172/JCI126327.
Recent findings have shown that inhibitors targeting bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) proteins, such as the small molecule JQ1, are potent growth inhibitors of many cancers and hold promise for cancer therapy. However, some reports have also revealed that JQ1 can activate additional oncogenic pathways and may affect epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Therefore, it is important to address the potential unexpected effect of JQ1 treatment, such as cell invasion and metastasis. Here, we showed that in prostate cancer, JQ1 inhibited cancer cell growth but promoted invasion and metastasis in a BET protein-independent manner. Multiple invasion pathways including EMT, bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling, chemokine signaling, and focal adhesion were activated by JQ1 to promote invasion. Notably, JQ1 induced upregulation of invasion genes through inhibition of Forkhead box protein A1 (FOXA1), an invasion suppressor in prostate cancer. JQ1 directly interacted with FOXA1 and inactivated FOXA1 binding to its interacting repressors TLE3, HDAC7, and NFIC, thereby blocking FOXA1-repressive function and activating the invasion genes. Our findings indicate that JQ1 has an unexpected effect of promoting invasion in prostate cancer. Thus, the ill effect of JQ1 or its derived therapeutic agents cannot be ignored during cancer treatment, especially in FOXA1-related cancers.