Bromodomain Protein BRD4-Mediated Mutant p53 Transcription Promotes TNBC Progression

Julie Xia Zhou, Ewud Agborbesong, Linda Xiaoyan Li, Xiaogang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


TP53 is the most common mutated gene in human cancer. Mutant p53 protein loses its tumor-suppressor properties and gains oncogenic activity. Mutant p53 is a therapeutic target in a broad range of cancer types. However, how mutant p53 is epigenetically regulated during tumor progression remains elusive. In this study, we found that the upregulation of mutant p53 is mediated by bromodomain protein BRD4 in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells. Inhibition of BRD4 with its inhibitor JQ1 or knockdown of BRD4 suppressed the transcription of mutant p53, which led to the re-expression of p21, the inhibition of S-phase entry, and colony formation in TNBC cells. BRD4 also positively regulated the transcription of wild-type p53, whereas JQ1 treatment and knockdown of BRD4 decreased the expression of p21 in MCF-7 cells. Knockdown of BRD4 resulted in attenuation of TNBC tumor growth in vivo. Taken together, our results uncover a novel regulatory mechanism of mutant p53 via BRD4, and suggest that the bromodomain inhibitor suppresses tumorigenesis through targeting mutant p53 in TNBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15163
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • BRD4
  • p53
  • triple-negative breast cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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