Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

Selective targeting of the BRG/PB1 bromodomains impairs embryonic and trophoblast stem cell maintenance

Science Advances  13 Nov 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 10, e1500723
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500723

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Abstract

Mammalian SWI/SNF [also called Brg/Brahma-associated factors (BAFs)] are evolutionarily conserved chromatin-remodeling complexes regulating gene transcription programs during development and stem cell differentiation. BAF complexes contain an ATP (adenosine 5′-triphosphate)–driven remodeling enzyme (either BRG1 or BRM) and multiple protein interaction domains including bromodomains, an evolutionary conserved acetyl lysine–dependent protein interaction motif that recruits transcriptional regulators to acetylated chromatin. We report a potent and cell active protein interaction inhibitor, PFI-3, that selectively binds to essential BAF bromodomains. The high specificity of PFI-3 was achieved on the basis of a novel binding mode of a salicylic acid head group that led to the replacement of water molecules typically maintained in other bromodomain inhibitor complexes. We show that exposure of embryonic stem cells to PFI-3 led to deprivation of stemness and deregulated lineage specification. Furthermore, differentiation of trophoblast stem cells in the presence of PFI-3 was markedly enhanced. The data present a key function of BAF bromodomains in stem cell maintenance and differentiation, introducing a novel versatile chemical probe for studies on acetylation-dependent cellular processes controlled by BAF remodeling complexes.

Keywords
  • epigenetics
  • chromatin remodelling,embryonic stem cells
  • trophoblast stem cells
  • BRG
  • BRM
  • PB1
  • chemical probe
  • BAF complex

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