The Third International Consensus Definitions for Sepsis and Septic Shock (Sepsis 3.0) recommended defining sepsis as a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by the host's uncontrolled response to infection. The bromodomain and extra-terminal (BET) protein family (such as BRD2, BRD3, and BRD4), an epigenetic regulator of gene transcription, has recently been recognized as a significant septic regulator of inflammation and immune response, including cytokine and chemokine production. Mechanistically, the two N-terminal conserved tandem bromodomains (namely the first bromodomain [BD1] and the second bromodomain [BD2]) favor the binding of BETs to acetylated histones or transcription factors, thereby initiating gene transcription machinery after CycT1 and CDK9 (also known as P-TEFb) are recruited to gene promoters to phosphorylate RNA pol II. Notably, BD1 and BD2 are not functionally redundant because they have different target genes in innate immune cells. Small-molecule BET inhibitors (BETis) for different BDs, such as I-BET, JQ1, I-BET151, apabetalone, RVX-297, and dBET1 have shown promising therapeutic effects in experimental sepsis models. This mini-review summarizes the emerging roles of BETs and the applications of BETis in sepsis, discusses the existing shortcomings of BETis, and introduces possible future research directions in this area.
- bromodomain and extra-terminal
- innate immune
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)