This study states that Gene regulatory networks control tissue homeostasis and disease progression in a cell type–specific manner. Ubiquitously expressed chromatin regulators modulate these networks, yet the mechanisms governing how tissue specificity of their function is achieved are poorly understood. BRD4 (bromodomain-containing protein 4), a member of the BET (bromo- and extraterminal domain) family of ubiquitously expressed acetyl-lysine reader proteins, plays a pivotal role as a coactivator of enhancer signaling across diverse tissue types in both health and disease and has been implicated as a pharmacological target in heart failure. However, the cell-specific role of BRD4 in adult cardiomyocytes remains unknown.

We combined conditional mouse genetics, unbiased transcriptomic and epigenomic analyses, and classic molecular biology and biochemical approaches to understand the mechanism by which BRD4 in adult cardiomyocyte homeostasis.

Here, we show that cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of Brd4 in adult mice leads to acute deterioration of cardiac contractile function with mutant animals demonstrating a transcriptomic signature characterized by decreased expression of genes critical for mitochondrial energy production. Genome-wide occupancy data show that BRD4 enriches many downregulated genes.

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