Brd4 is required for chondrocyte differentiation and endochondral ossification

Christopher R. Paradise, M. Lizeth Galvan, Oksana Pichurin, Sofia Jerez, Eva Kubrova, S. Sharare Dehghani, Margarita E. Carrasco, Roman Thaler, A. Noelle Larson, Andre J. van Wijnen, Amel Dudakovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Differentiation of multi-potent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) is directed by the activities of lineage-specific transcription factors and co-factors. A subset of these proteins controls the accessibility of chromatin by recruiting histone acetyl transferases or deacetylases that regulate acetylation of the N-termini of H3 and H4 histone proteins. Bromodomain (BRD) proteins recognize these acetylation marks and recruit the RNA pol II containing transcriptional machinery. Our previous studies have shown that Brd4 is required for osteoblast differentiation in vitro. Here, we investigated the role of Brd4 on endochondral ossification in C57BL/6 mice and chondrogenic differentiation in cell culture models. Conditional loss of Brd4 in the mesenchyme (Brd4 cKO, Brd4fl/fl: Prrx1-Cre) yields smaller mice that exhibit alteration in endochondral ossification. Importantly, abnormal growth plate morphology and delayed long bone formation is observed in juvenile Brd4 cKO mice. One week old Brd4 cKO mice have reduced proliferative and hypertrophic zones within the physis and exhibit a delay in the formation of the secondary ossification center. At the cellular level, Brd4 function is required for chondrogenic differentiation and maturation of both ATDC5 cells and immature mouse articular chondrocytes. Mechanistically, Brd4 loss suppresses Sox9 levels and reduces expression of Sox9 and Runx2 responsive endochondral genes (e.g., Col2a1, Acan, Mmp13 and Sp7/Osx). Collectively, our results indicate that Brd4 is a key epigenetic regulator required for normal chondrogenesis and endochondral ossification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116234
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Brd4
  • Epigenetics
  • Genetic animal model
  • Growth plate
  • Histone
  • Limb patterning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology


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