Bromodomain containing 9 (BRD9) regulates macrophage inflammatory responses by potentiating glucocorticoid receptor activity.

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Public Summary:
Glucocorticoids are widely prescribed anti-inflammatory drugs that suppress inflammatory gene expression through activation of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), however the mechanisms of GR-mediated repression are not fully understood. We show here that bromodomain containing 9 (BRD9), a component of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex, modulates GR activity in bone marrow derived macrophages. Loss of BRD9 activity in macrophages attenuated the response to liposaccharides (LPS) and interferon inflammatory stimuli. Notably, BRD9 inhibition synergized with the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone to suppress the inflammatory response in macrophages. Our data support a model in which BRD9 restricts GR binding at a subset of inflammatory related genes, and suggests that BRD9 inhibitors may increase the efficacy of glucocorticoids.
Scientific Abstract:
In macrophages, homeostatic and immune signals induce distinct sets of transcriptional responses, defining cellular identity and functional states. The activity of lineage-specific and signal-induced transcription factors are regulated by chromatin accessibility and other epigenetic modulators. Glucocorticoids are potent antiinflammatory drugs; however, the mechanisms by which they selectively attenuate inflammatory genes are not yet understood. Acting through the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), glucocorticoids directly repress inflammatory responses at transcriptional and epigenetic levels in macrophages. A major unanswered question relates to the sequence of events that result in the formation of repressive regions. In this study, we identify bromodomain containing 9 (BRD9), a component of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex, as a modulator of glucocorticoid responses in macrophages. Inhibition, degradation, or genetic depletion of BRD9 in bone marrow-derived macrophages significantly attenuated their responses to both liposaccharides and interferon inflammatory stimuli. Notably, BRD9-regulated genes extensively overlap with those regulated by the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone. Pharmacologic inhibition of BRD9 potentiated the antiinflammatory responses of dexamethasone, while the genetic deletion of BRD9 in macrophages reduced high-fat diet-induced adipose inflammation. Mechanistically, BRD9 colocalized at a subset of GR genomic binding sites, and depletion of BRD9 enhanced GR occupancy primarily at inflammatory-related genes to potentiate GR-induced repression. Collectively, these findings establish BRD9 as a genomic antagonist of GR at inflammatory-related genes in macrophages, and reveal a potential for BRD9 inhibitors to increase the therapeutic efficacies of glucocorticoids.