A novel BRD4 inhibitor suppresses osteoclastogenesis

Bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4) has emerged as a promising treatment target for bone-related disorders. (+)-JQ1, a thienotriazolodiazepine compound, has been shown to inhibit pro-osteoclastic activity in a BRD4-dependent approach and impede bone loss caused by ovariectomy (OVX) in vivo. However, clinical trials of (+)-JQ1 are limited because of its poor druggability. In this study, we synthesized a new (+)-JQ1 derivative differing in structure and chirality. One such derivative, (+)-ND, exhibited higher solubility and excellent inhibitory activity against BRD4 compared with its analogue (+)-JQ1. Interestingly, (-)-JQ1 and (-)-ND exhibited low anti-proliferative activity and had no significant inhibitory effect on RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis as compared with (+)-JQ1 and (+)-ND, suggesting the importance of chirality in the biological activity of compounds. Among these compounds, (+)-ND displayed the most prominent inhibitory effect on RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis.

figure1

Fig: Identification of (+)-ND as a potent inhibitor of BRD4:A The structures of enantiomers (+)-ND and (-)-ND. B The water solubility of (+)-JQ1 and (+)-ND. *P < 0.05 relative to the control. C The binding models of (+)-JQ1 and (+)-ND with BRD4 (PBD: 3MXF), respectively. D The inhibitory activities of different enantiomers toward BRD4 (BD1).

Moreover, (+)-ND could inhibit osteoclast-specific gene expression, F‐actin ring generation, and bone resorption in vitro and prevent bone loss in OVX mice. Collectively, these findings indicated that (+)-ND represses RANKL‐stimulated osteoclastogenesis and averts OVX-triggered osteoporosis by suppressing MAPK and NF-κB signalling cascades, suggesting that it may be a prospective candidate for osteoporosis treatment.

Liu, Y., Liu, W., Yu, Z. et al. A novel BRD4 inhibitor suppresses osteoclastogenesis and ovariectomized osteoporosis by blocking RANKL-mediated MAPK and NF-κB pathways. Cell Death Dis 12, 654 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41419-021-03939-7

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