Bromodomain-containing Protein 4 regulates innate inflammation via modulation of alternative splicing

Morgan W. Mann, Yao Fu, Robert L. Gearhart, Xiaofang Xu, David S. Roberts, Yi Li, Jia Zhou, Ying Ge, Allan R. Brasier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Bromodomain-containing Protein 4 (BRD4) is a transcriptional regulator which coordinates gene expression programs controlling cancer biology, inflammation, and fibrosis. In the context of airway viral infection, BRD4-specific inhibitors (BRD4i) block the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and prevent downstream epithelial plasticity. Although the chromatin modifying functions of BRD4 in inducible gene expression have been extensively investigated, its roles in post-transcriptional regulation are not well understood. Given BRD4's interaction with the transcriptional elongation complex and spliceosome, we hypothesize that BRD4 is a functional regulator of mRNA processing. Methods: To address this question, we combine data-independent analysis - parallel accumulation-serial fragmentation (diaPASEF) with RNA-sequencing to achieve deep and integrated coverage of the proteomic and transcriptomic landscapes of human small airway epithelial cells exposed to viral challenge and treated with BRD4i. Results: We discover that BRD4 regulates alternative splicing of key genes, including Interferon-related Developmental Regulator 1 (IFRD1) and X-Box Binding Protein 1 (XBP1), related to the innate immune response and the unfolded protein response (UPR). We identify requirement of BRD4 for expression of serine-arginine splicing factors, splicosome components and the Inositol-Requiring Enzyme 1 IREα affecting immediate early innate response and the UPR. Discussion: These findings extend the transcriptional elongation-facilitating actions of BRD4 in control of post-transcriptional RNA processing via modulating splicing factor expression in virus-induced innate signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1212770
Pages (from-to)1212770
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - Jun 25 2023


  • BRD4
  • IFRD1
  • RSV (respiratory syncytial virus)
  • alternative splicing
  • innate inflammatory response
  • unfolded protein response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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