Oncogene-induced senescence is a potent barrier to tumorigenesis that limits cellular expansion following certain oncogenic events. Senescent cells display a repressive chromatin configuration thought to stably silence proliferation-promoting genes while simultaneously activating an unusual form of immune surveillance involving a secretory program referred to as the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Here, we demonstrate that senescence also involves a global remodeling of the enhancer landscape with recruitment of the chromatin reader BRD4 to newly activated super-enhancers adjacent to key SASP genes. Transcriptional profiling and functional studies indicate that BRD4 is required for the SASP and downstream paracrine signaling. Consequently, BRD4 inhibition disrupts immune cell-mediated targeting and elimination of premalignant senescent cells in vitro and in vivo. Our results identify a critical role for BRD4-bound super-enhancers in senescence immune surveillance and in the proper execution of a tumor-suppressive program. SIGNIFICANCE: This study reveals how cells undergoing oncogene-induced senescence acquire a distinctive enhancer landscape that includes formation of super-enhancers adjacent to immune-modulatory genes required for paracrine immune activation. This process links BRD4 and super-enhancers to a tumor-suppressive immune surveillance program that can be disrupted by small molecule inhibitors of the bromo and extra terminal domain family of proteins.
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© 2016 American Association for Cancer Research.
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