JOURNAL ARTICLE

RNA sequencing reveals distinct mechanisms underlying BET inhibitor JQ1-mediated modulation of the LPS-induced activation of BV-2 microglial cells

Kyoung Hwa Jung, Amitabh Das, Jin Choul Chai, Sun Hwa Kim, Nishi Morya, Kyoung Sun Park, Young Seek Lee, Young Gyu Chai
Journal of Neuroinflammation 2015, 12: 36
25890327

BACKGROUND: Microglial cells become rapidly activated through interaction with pathogens, and their persistent activation is associated with the production and secretion of various pro-inflammatory genes, cytokines, and chemokines, which may initiate or amplify neurodegenerative diseases. Bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) proteins are a group of epigenetic regulators that associate with acetylated histones and facilitate the transcription of target genes. A novel synthetic BET inhibitor, JQ1, was proven to exert immunosuppressive activities by inhibiting the expression of IL-6 and Tnf-α in macrophages. However, a genome-wide search for JQ1 molecular targets is largely unexplored in microglia.

METHODS: The present study was aimed at evaluating the anti-inflammatory function and underlying genes targeted by JQ1 in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated BV-2 microglial cells using two transcriptomic techniques: global transcriptomic biological duplicate RNA sequencing and quantitative real-time PCR. Associated biological pathways and functional gene ontology were also evaluated.

RESULTS: With a cutoff value of P ≤ 0.01 and fold change ≥1.5 log2, the expression level of 214 and 301 genes, including pro-inflammatory cytokine, chemokine, and transcription factors, was found to be upregulated in BV-2 cells stimulated with LPS for 2 and 4 h, respectively. Among these annotated genes, we found that JQ1 selectively reduced the expression of 78 and 118 genes (P ≤ 0.01, and fold change ≥ 1.5, respectively). Importantly, these inflammatory genes were not affected by JQ1 treatment alone. Furthermore, we confirmed that JQ1 reduced the expression of key inflammation- and immunity-related genes as well as cytokines/chemokines in the supernatants of LPS-treated primary microglial cells isolated from 3-day-old ICR mice. Utilizing functional group analysis, the genes affected by JQ1 were classified into four categories related to biological regulation, immune system processes, and response to stimuli. Moreover, the biological pathways and functional genomics obtained in this study may facilitate the suppression of different key inflammatory genes through JQ1-treated BV-2 microglial cells.

CONCLUSIONS: These unprecedented results suggest the BET inhibitor JQ1 as a candidate for the prevention or therapeutic treatment of inflammation-mediated neurodegenerative diseases.

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