BRD9-SMAD2/3 orchestrates stemness and tumorigenesis in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

bioRxiv [Preprint]. 2023 Mar 2:2023.03.02.530770. doi: 10.1101/2023.03.02.530770.


The dismal prognosis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is linked to the presence of pancreatic cancer stem-like cells (CSCs) that respond poorly to current chemotherapy regimens. By small molecule compound screening targeting 142 epigenetic enzymes, we identified that bromodomain-containing protein BRD9, a component of the BAF histone remodelling complex, is a key chromatin regulator to orchestrate the stemness of pancreatic CSCs via cooperating with the TGFβ/Activin-SMAD2/3 signalling pathway. Inhibition and genetic ablation of BDR9 block the self-renewal, cell cycle entry into G0 phase and invasiveness of CSCs, and improve the sensitivity of CSCs to gemcitabine treatment. In addition, pharmacological inhibition of BRD9 significantly reduced the tumorigenesis in patient-derived xenografts mouse models and eliminated CSCs in tumours from pancreatic cancer patients. Mechanistically, inhibition of BRD9 disrupts enhancer-promoter looping and transcription of stemness genes in CSCs. Collectively, the data suggest BRD9 as a novel therapeutic target for PDAC treatment via modulation of CSC stemness.

Publication types

  • Preprint