Brd4 links chromatin targeting to HPV transcriptional silencing

Shwu Yuan Wu, A. Young Lee, Samuel Y. Hou, Jongsook Kim Kemper, Hediye Erdjument-Bromage, Paul Tempst, Cheng Ming Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


The E2 protein encoded by human papillomaviruses (HPVs) inhibits expression of the viral E6 oncoprotein, which, in turn, regulates p53 target gene transcription. To identify cellular proteins involved in E2-mediated transcriptional repression, we isolated an E2 complex from human cells conditionally expressing HPV-11 E2. Surprisingly, the double bromodomain-containing protein Brd4, which is implicated in cell cycle control and viral genome segregation, was found associated with E2 and conferred on E2 the ability to inhibit AP-1-dependent HPV chromatin transcription in an E2-binding site-specific manner as illustrated by in vitro reconstituted chromatin transcription experiments. Knockdown of Brd4 in human cells alleviates E2-mediated repression of HPV transcription. The E2-interacting domain at the extreme C terminus and the chromatin targeting activity of a bromodomain-containing region are both essential for the corepressor activity of Brd4. Interestingly, E2-Brd4 blocks the recruitment of TFIID and RNA polymerase II to the HPV E6 promoter region without inhibiting acetylation of nucleosomal histones H3 and H4, indicating an acetylation-dependent role of Brd4 in the recruitment of E2 for transcriptional silencing of HPV gene activity. Our finding that Brd4 is a component of the virus-assembled transcriptional silencing complex uncovers a novel function of Brd4 as a cellular cofactor modulating viral gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2383-2396
Number of pages14
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • AP-1
  • Brd4
  • Chromatin transcription
  • E2
  • Gene silencing
  • HPV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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