Dysregulation of BRD4 Function Underlies the Functional Abnormalities of MeCP2 Mutant Neurons

Yangfei Xiang, Yoshiaki Tanaka, Benjamin Patterson, Sung Min Hwang, Eriona Hysolli, Bilal Cakir, Kun Yong Kim, Wanshan Wang, Young Jin Kang, Ethan M. Clement, Mei Zhong, Sang Hun Lee, Yee Sook Cho, Prabir Patra, Gareth J. Sullivan, Sherman M. Weissman, In Hyun Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Rett syndrome (RTT), mainly caused by mutations in methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2), is one of the most prevalent intellectual disorders without effective therapies. Here, we used 2D and 3D human brain cultures to investigate MeCP2 function. We found that MeCP2 mutations cause severe abnormalities in human interneurons (INs). Surprisingly, treatment with a BET inhibitor, JQ1, rescued the molecular and functional phenotypes of MeCP2 mutant INs. We uncovered that abnormal increases in chromatin binding of BRD4 and enhancer-promoter interactions underlie the abnormal transcription in MeCP2 mutant INs, which were recovered to normal levels by JQ1. We revealed cell-type-specific transcriptome impairment in MeCP2 mutant region-specific human brain organoids that were rescued by JQ1. Finally, JQ1 ameliorated RTT-like phenotypes in mice. These data demonstrate that BRD4 dysregulation is a critical driver for RTT etiology and suggest that targeting BRD4 could be a potential therapeutic opportunity for RTT.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-98.e9
JournalMolecular Cell
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • BRD4
  • JQ1
  • MeCP2
  • Rett syndrome
  • brain organoid
  • interneuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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