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1.  Notch1 and 4 Signaling Responds to an Increasing Vascular Wall Shear Stress in a Rat Model of Arteriovenous Malformations 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:368082.
Notch signaling is suggested to promote the development and maintenance of cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), and an increasing wall shear stress (WSS) contributes to AVM rupture. Little is known about whether WSS impacts Notch signaling, which is important for understanding the angiogenesis of AVMs. WSS was measured in arteriovenous fistulas (AVF) surgically created in 96 rats at different time points over a period of 84 days. The expression of Notch receptors 1 and 4 and their ligands, Delta1 and 4, Jagged1, and Notch downstream gene target Hes1 was quantified in “nidus” vessels. The interaction events between Notch receptors and their ligands were quantified using proximity ligation assay. There was a positive correlation between WSS and time (r = 0.97; P < 0.001). The expression of Notch receptors and their ligands was upregulated following AVF formation. There was a positive correlation between time and the number of interactions between Notch receptors and their ligands aftre AVF formation (r = 0.62, P < 0.05) and a positive correlation between WSS and the number of interactions between Notch receptors and their ligands (r = 0.87, P < 0.005). In conclusion, an increasing WSS may contribute to the angiogenesis of AVMs by activation of Notch signaling.
PMCID: PMC3915856  PMID: 24563863
2.  Endothelial Notch Signaling is Upregulated in Human Brain Arteriovenous Malformations and a Mouse Model of the Disease 
Brain arteriovenous malformations (BAVMs) can cause lethal hemorrhagic stroke and have no effective treatment. The cellular and molecular basis for this disease is largely unknown. We have previously shown that expression of constitutively-active Notch4 receptor in the endothelium elicits and maintains the hallmarks of BAVM in mice, thus establishing a mouse model of the disease. Our work suggested that Notch pathway could be a critical molecular mediator of BAVM pathogenesis. Here, we investigated the hypothesis that upregulated Notch activation contributes to the pathogenesis of human BAVM. We examined expression of the canonical Notch downstream target Hes1 in the endothelium of human BAVMs by immunofluorescence, and showed increased levels relative to either autopsy or surgical biopsy controls. We then analyzed receptor activity using an antibody to the activated form of the Notch1 receptor, and found increased levels of activity. These findings suggest that Notch activation may promote the development and even maintenance of BAVM. We also detected increases in Hes1 and activated Notch1 expression in our mouse model of BAVM induced by constitutively-active Notch4, demonstrating molecular similarity between the mouse model and the human disease. Our work suggests that activation of Notch signaling is an important molecular candidate in BAVM pathogenesis and further validates that our animal model provides a platform to study the progression as well as the regression of the disease.
PMCID: PMC3095492  PMID: 19546852
angiogenesis; arteriovenous malformation; arterial-venous differentiation; cell signaling; endothelial cell; Notch signaling; stroke
3.  Notch1 activation in mice causes arteriovenous malformations phenocopied by ephrinB2 and EphB4 mutants 
Genesis (New York, N.Y. : 2000)  2010;48(3):146-150.
Notch signaling is essential for embryonic vascular development in mammals and other vertebrates. Here we show that mouse embryos with conditional activation of the Notch1 gene in endothelial cells (Notch1 gain of function embryos) exhibit defects in vascular remodeling, increased diameter of the dorsal aortae, and form arteriovenous malformations. Conversely, embryos with either constitutive or endothelial cell-specific Notch1 gene deletion also have vascular defects, but exhibit decreased diameter of the dorsal aortae and form arteriovenous malformations distinctly different from the Notch1 gain of function mutants. Surprisingly, embryos homozygous for mutations of the ephrinB/EphB pathway genes Efnb2 and Ephb4 exhibit vascular defects and arteriovenous malformations that phenocopy the Notch1 gain of function mutants. These results suggest that formation of arteriovenous malformations in Notch1 gain of function mutants and ephrinB/EphB pathway loss of function mutant embryos occurs by different mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2849749  PMID: 20101599
angiogenesis; arteriovenous malformation; EphrinB2; EphB4; Notch signaling pathway; vascular morphogenesis
4.  Hypoxia Activates the Notch Signaling Pathway in Cells of the Intervertebral Disc 
Arthritis and rheumatism  2011;63(5):1355-1364.
To investigate whether hypoxia regulates Notch signaling, and whether Notch plays a role in intervertebral disc cell proliferation.
Reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction and Western blotting were used to measure expression of Notch signaling components in intervertebral disc tissue from mature rats and from human discs. Transfections were performed to determine the effects of hypoxia and Notch on target gene activity.
Cells of the nucleus pulposus and annulus fibrosus of rat disc tissue expressed components of the Notch signaling pathway. Expression of Notch-2 was higher than that of the other Notch receptors in both the nucleus pulposus and annulus fibrosus. In both tissues, hypoxia increased Notch1 and Notch4 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression. In the annulus fibrosus, mRNA expression of the Notch ligand Jagged1 was induced by hypoxia, while Jagged2 mRNA expression was highly sensitive to hypoxia in both tissues. A Notch signaling inhibitor, L685458, blocked hypoxic induction of the activity of the Notch-responsive luciferase reporters 12xCSL and CBF1. Expression of the Notch target gene Hes1 was induced by hypoxia, while coexpression with the Notch–intracellular domain increased Hes1 promoter activity. Moreover, inhibition of Notch signaling blocked disc cell proliferation. Analysis of human disc tissue showed that there was increased expression of Notch signaling proteins in degenerated discs.
In intervertebral disc cells, hypoxia promotes expression of Notch signaling proteins. Notch signaling is an important process in the maintenance of disc cell proliferation, and thus offers a therapeutic target for the restoration of cell numbers during degenerative disc disease.
PMCID: PMC3613279  PMID: 21305512
5.  No Evidence for a Functional Role of Bi-Directional Notch Signaling during Angiogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e53074.
The Delta-Notch pathway is a signal exchanger between adjacent cells to regulate numerous differentiation steps during embryonic development. Blood vessel formation by sprouting angiogenesis requires high expression of the Notch ligand DLL4 in the leading tip cell, while Notch receptors in the trailing stalk cells are activated by DLL4 to achieve strong Notch signaling activity. Upon ligand binding, Notch receptors are cleaved by ADAM proteases and gamma-secretase. This releases the intracellular Notch domain that acts as a transcription factor. There is evidence that also Notch ligands (DLL1, DLL4, JAG1, JAG2) are processed upon receptor binding to influence transcription in the ligand-expressing cell. Thus, the existence of bi-directional Delta-Notch signaling has been proposed. We report here that the Notch ligands DLL1 and JAG1 are processed in endothelial cells in a gamma-secretase-dependent manner and that the intracellular ligand domains accumulate in the cell nucleus. Overexpression of JAG1 intracellular domain (ICD) as well as DLL1-ICD, DLL4-ICD and NOTCH1-ICD inhibited endothelial proliferation. Whereas NOTCH1-ICD strongly repressed endothelial migration and sprouting angiogenesis, JAG1-ICD, DLL1-ICD and DLL4-ICD had no significant effects. Consistently, global gene expression patterns were only marginally affected by the processed Notch ligands. In addition to its effects as a transcription factor, NOTCH1-ICD promotes cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix in a transcription-independent manner. However, JAG1-ICD, DLL1-ICD and DLL4-ICD did not influence endothelial cell adhesion. In summary, reverse signaling of Notch ligands appears to be dispensable for angiogenesis in cellular systems.
PMCID: PMC3532505  PMID: 23300864
6.  Cooperation of Notch and Ras/MAPK signaling pathways in human breast carcinogenesis 
Molecular Cancer  2009;8:128.
Recent studies have implicated aberrant Notch signaling in breast cancers. Yet, relatively little is known about the pattern of expression of various components of the Notch pathway, or its mechanism of action. To better understand the role of the Notch pathway in breast cancer, we have undertaken a detailed expression analysis of various Notch receptors, their ligands, and downstream targets at different stages of breast cancer progression.
We report here that there is a general increase in the expression levels of Notch 1, 2, 4, Jagged1, Jagged2, and Delta-like 4 proteins in breast cancers, with simultaneous upregulation of multiple Notch receptors and ligands in a given cancer tissue. While Notch3 and Delta-like1 were undetectable in normal tissues, moderate to high expression was detected in several cancers. We detected the presence of active, cleaved Notch1, along with downstream targets of the Notch pathway, Hes1/Hes5, in ~75% of breast cancers, clearly indicating that in a large proportion of breast cancers Notch signaling is aberrantly activated. Furthermore, we detected cleaved Notch1 and Hes1/5 in early precursors of breast cancers - hyperplasia and ductal carcinoma in situ - suggesting that aberrant Notch activation may be an early event in breast cancer progression. Mechanistically, while constitutively active Notch1 alone failed to transform immortalized breast cells, it synergized with the Ras/MAPK pathway to mediate transformation. This cooperation is reflected in vivo, as a subset of cleaved Notch positive tumors additionally expressed phopsho-Erk1/2 in the nuclei. Such cases exhibited high node positivity, suggesting that Notch-Ras cooperation may lead to poor prognosis.
High level expression of Notch receptors and ligands, and its increased activation in several breast cancers and early precursors, places Notch signaling as a key player in breast cancer pathogenesis. Its cooperation with the Ras/MAPK pathway in transformation offers combined inhibition of the two pathways as a new modality for breast cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC2809056  PMID: 20030805
7.  Notch signaling regulates tumor angiogenesis by diverse mechanisms 
Oncogene  2008;27(38):5132-5137.
The Notch signaling pathway is fundamental to proper cardiovascular development and is now recognized as an important player in tumor angiogenesis. Two key Notch ligands have been implicated in tumor angiogenesis, Delta-like 4 and Jagged1. We introduce the proteins and how they work in normal developing vasculature and then discuss differing models describing the action of these Notch ligands in tumor angiogenesis. Endothelial Dll4 expression activates Notch resulting in restriction of new sprout development; for instance, in growing retinal vessels. In agreement with this activity, inhibition of Dll4-mediated Notch signaling in tumors results in hypersprouting of nonfunctional vasculature. This Dll4 inhibition may paradoxically lead to increased angiogenesis but poor tumor growth because the newly growing vessels are not functional. In contrast, Jagged1 has been described as a Notch ligand expressed in tumor cells that can have a positive influence on tumor angiogenesis, possibly by activating Notch on tumor endothelium. A novel Notch inhibitor, the Notch1 decoy, which blocks both Dll4 and Jagged1 has been recently shown to restrict tumor vessel growth. We discuss these models and speculate on therapeutic approaches.
PMCID: PMC3893692  PMID: 18758482
angiogenesis; Notch; Jagged1; Dll4; sprout; VEGFR-2
8.  Jagged1 expression regulated by Notch3 and Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathways in ovarian cancer 
Oncotarget  2010;1(3):210-218.
Ovarian serous carcinoma is a highly aggressive neoplastic disease in women. Our previous studies have demonstrated Notch3 gene amplification and upregulation in many ovarian serous carcinomas and Notch pathway activity contributed to drug resistance. Among different Notch3 ligands, Jagged1 is most dominant in ovarian cancer, and Notch3 pathway activity correlated with Jagged1 expression level in ovarian carcinoma tissues. In this study, we found that Jagged1 expression depended on Notch3 pathway activation. Knockdown of either Notch3 or RBPjk, a Notch-interacting transcription factor critical in Notch signaling, suppressed Jagged1 expression in ovarian cancer cells. Moreover, Jagged1 expression was upregulated in human ovarian surface epithelial cells after ectopic expression of Notch3 intracellular domain and was upregulated in mouse epithelial cells isolated from Notch3-inducible mice after induction. We also found that inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling reduced Jagged1 expression, and co-administration of shRNAs targeting both Notch3 and β-catenin reduced Jagged1 expression much more than targeting either individual gene. Taken together, our data suggested a positive regulatory loop between Notch3 and its ligand, Jagged1, in ovarian cancer cells. In addition, Wnt/β-catenin pathway activation also up-regulated Jagged1. Both mechanisms may sustain Notch3 signaling in ovarian cancer cells and contribute to the pathogenesis of ovarian carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC2953807  PMID: 20953350
Notch3; ovarian cancer; Jagged; signaling
9.  Jagged1 Expression Regulated by Notch3 and Wnt/β-catenin Signaling Pathways in Ovarian Cancer 
Oncotarget  2010;1(3):210-218.
Ovarian serous carcinoma is a highly aggressive neoplastic disease in women. Our previous studies have demonstrated Notch3 gene amplification and upregulation in many ovarian serous carcinomas and Notch pathway activity contributed to drug resistance. Among different Notch3 ligands, Jagged1 is most dominant in ovarian cancer, and Notch3 pathway activity correlated with Jagged1 expression level in ovarian carcinoma tissues. In this study, we found that Jagged1 expression depended on Notch3 pathway activation. Knockdown of either Notch3 or RBPjk, a Notchinteracting transcription factor critical in Notch signaling, suppressed Jagged1 expression in ovarian cancer cells. Moreover, Jagged1 expression was upregulated in human ovarian surface epithelial cells after ectopic expression of Notch3 intracellular domain and was upregulated in mouse epithelial cells isolated from Notch3-inducible mice after induction. We also found that inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling reduced Jagged1 expression, and co-administration of shRNAs targeting both Notch3 and β-catenin reduced Jagged1 expression much more than targeting either individual gene. Taken together, our data suggested a positive regulatory loop between Notch3 and its ligand, Jagged1, in ovarian cancer cells. In addition, Wnt/β-catenin pathway activation also up-regulated Jagged1. Both mechanisms may sustain Notch3 signaling in ovarian cancer cells and contribute to the pathogenesis of ovarian carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC2953807  PMID: 20953350
Notch3; ovarian cancer; Jagged; signaling
10.  A Role for Notch Signaling in Salivary Acinar Cell Growth and Differentiation 
The Notch pathway is crucial for stem/progenitor cell maintenance, growth and differentiation in a variety of tissues. The Notch signaling is essential for Drosophila salivary gland development but its role in mammalian salivary gland remains unclear. The human salivary epithelial cell line, HSG, was studied to determine the role of Notch signaling in salivary epithelial cell differentiation. HSG expressed Notch 1 to 4, and the Notch ligands Jagged 1 and 2 and Delta 1. Treatment of HSG cells with inhibitors of γ-secretase, which is required for Notch cleavage and activation, blocked vimentin expression, an indicator of HSG differentiation. HSG differentiation was also associated with Notch downsteam signal Hes-1 expression, and Hes-1 expression was inhibited by γ-secretase inhibitors. siRNA corresponding to Notch 1 to 4 was used to show that silencing of all four Notch receptors was required to inhibit HSG differentiation. Normal human submandibular gland expressed Notch 1 to 4, Jagged 1 and 2, and Delta 1, with nuclear localization indicating Notch signaling in vivo. Hes-1 was also expressed in the human tissue, with staining predominantly in the ductal cells. In salivary tissue from rats undergoing and recovering from ductal obstruction, we found that Notch receptors and ligands were expressed in the nucleus of the regenerating epithelial cells. Taken together, these data suggest that Notch signaling is critical for normal salivary gland cell growth and differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2671016  PMID: 19235730
Salivary Gland; Epithelial Cell Differentiation; Notch; Hes1
11.  Notch and the Skeleton▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;30(4):886-896.
Notch receptors are transmembrane receptors that regulate cell fate decisions. There are four Notch receptors in mammals. Upon binding to members of the Delta and Jagged family of transmembrane proteins, Notch is cleaved and the Notch intracellular domain (NICD) is released. NICD then translocates to the nucleus, where it associates with the CBF-1, Suppressor of Hairless, and Lag-2 (CSL) and Mastermind-Like (MAML) proteins. This complex activates the transcription of Notch target genes, such as Hairy Enhancer of Split (Hes) and Hes-related with YRPF motif (Hey). Notch signaling is critical for the regulation of mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. Misexpression of Notch in skeletal tissue indicates a role as an inhibitor of skeletal development and postnatal bone formation. Overexpression of Notch inhibits endochondral bone formation and osteoblastic differentiation, causing severe osteopenia. Conditional inactivation of Notch in the skeleton causes an increase in cancellous bone volume and enhanced osteoblastic differentiation. Notch ligands are expressed in the hematopoietic stem cell niche and are critical for the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal. Dysregulation of Notch signaling is the underlying cause of diseases affecting the skeletal tissue, including Alagille syndrome, spondylocostal dysostosis, and possibly, osteosarcoma.
PMCID: PMC2815558  PMID: 19995916
Kidney international  2010;78(5):514-522.
Recent studies indicate that the Notch signaling pathway plays an important role in diabetic kidney disease (DKD) and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) development, but the specificity and the clinical significance of Notch activation have not been studied in a broader set of diseases.
Here we analyzed the degree of expression and localization of Notch ligands (Jagged1 and Delta1) and Notch receptors (Notch1 and Notch2) in healthy human kidneys and in biopsy samples obtained from patients with minimal change disease, membranous nephropathy, lupus nephritis ISN/RPS classes III/IV/V, hypertensive nephrosclerosis, crescentic glomerulonephritis, tubulointerstitial fibrosis, IgA nephropathy, DKD and FSGS.
We found that cleaved Notch1, Notch2 and Jagged1 are expressed on podocytes in proteinuric nephropathies and their level of expression correlates with the amount of proteinuria (across all disease groups). The degree of glomerulosclerosis correlated with podocyte expression of cleaved Notch1, while the severity of tubulointerstitial fibrosis and the estimated glomerular filtration rate correlated with expression of cleavedNotch1 in the tubulointerstitium.
In summary, here we show that the expression of Notch pathway proteins correlates with proteinuria and kidney dysfunction in a wide range of acquired renal diseases. Our results raise the possibility that Notch pathway activation is a common mechanism in the development of albuminuria, glomerulosclerosis and kidney dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3164583  PMID: 20531454
13.  Neuroglobin Expression in Human Arteriovenous Malformation and Intracerebral Hemorrhage 
We reported previously that Notch signaling is activated in human arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and that intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) in humans is accompanied by increased neurogenesis. The former phenomenon may be involved in AVM pathogenesis and the latter in the brain’s response to ICH-induced injury. Here we describe increased expression of the hypoxia-inducible neuroprotective protein, neuroglobin (Ngb), in neurons surrounding unruptured AVMs and in the perihematomal region adjacent to ICH. In these disorders, as in other clinical settings, such as ischemic stroke, AVM- and ICHinduced overexpression of Ngb may be stimulated by ischemic hypoxia and may help to constrain brain injury.
PMCID: PMC3234111  PMID: 21725774
Neuroglobin; Arteriovenous malformation; Intracerebral hemorrhage; Hypoxia; Ischemia
14.  Involvement of Notch1 signaling in neurogenesis in the subventricular zone of normal and ischemic rat brain in vivo 
The Notch1 signaling pathway is regarded as one of the main regulators of neural stem cell behavior during development, but its role in the adult brain is less well understood. We found that Notch1 was mainly expressed in doublecortin (DCX)-positive cells corresponding to newborn neurons, whereas the Notch1 ligand, Jagged1, was predominantly expressed in glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-positive astrocytic cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the normal adult brain. These findings were confirmed by conditional depletion of DCX-positive cells in transgenic mice carrying herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (HSV-TK) under the control of the DCX promoter. In addition, the activated form of Notch1 (Notch intracellular domain, NICD) and its downstream transcriptional targets, Hes1 and sonic hedgehog (Shh), were also expressed in SVZ cells. Increased activation of Notch1 signaling increased SVZ cell proliferation, whereas inhibiting Notch1 signaling resulted in a reduction of proliferating cells in the SVZ. Levels of NICD, Hes1, and Shh were increased in the SVZ at 4 and 24 h after focal cerebral ischemia. Finally, ischemia-induced cell proliferation in the SVZ was blocked by inhibition of the Notch1 signaling pathway, suggesting that Notch1 signaling may have a key role in normal adult and ischemia-induced neurogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2810260  PMID: 19536070
doublecortin; ischemia; Jagged1; neurogenesis; Notch1; subventricular zone
15.  Lipopolysaccharide-induced Notch signaling activation through JNK-dependent pathway regulates inflammatory response 
Notch and TLR pathways were found to act cooperatively to activate Notch target genes and to increase the production of TLR-induced cytokines in macrophages. However, the mechanism of LPS-induced Notch activation and its role in sepsis still remains unclear.
We analyzed the expression patterns of Notch components in a LPS-stimulated murine macrophage cell line using real-time PCR and western blotting. The role of DAPT, a gamma-secretase inhibitor that is known to be a potent Notch inhibitor, in LPS-induced cytokine release and experimental sepsis in mice was also explored. Student's t-test was used to analyze the difference between the two groups.
We found that Notch signaling was activated after LPS stimulation. The expression of Jagged 1, a Notch ligand, induced by LPS occurred in a JNK-dependent manner. In addition, Notch target genes were upregulated by early Notch-independent activation followed by delayed Notch-dependent activation after LPS stimulation. Disruption of Notch signaling by DAPT attenuated the LPS-induced inflammatory responses, including vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and high-mobility group box chromosomal protein 1 (HMGB1), both in vitro and in vivo and partially improved experimental sepsis survival.
These findings support the existence of a synergistic effect of Notch signaling and the LPS pathway both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, in the future Notch inhibitors may be utilized as adjunctive agents for the treatment of sepsis syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3176188  PMID: 21843347
16.  Notch modulates VEGF action in endothelial cells by inducing Matrix Metalloprotease activity 
Vascular Cell  2011;3:2.
In the vasculature, Notch signaling functions as a downstream effecter of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) signaling. VEGF regulates sprouting angiogenesis in part by inducing and activating matrix metalloproteases (MMPs). This study sought to determine if VEGF regulation of MMPs was mediated via Notch signaling and to determine how Notch regulation of MMPs influenced endothelial cell morphogenesis.
Methods and Results
We assessed the relationship between VEGF and Notch signaling in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Overexpression of VEGF-induced Notch4 and the Notch ligand, Dll4, activated Notch signaling, and altered endothelial cell morphology in a fashion similar to that induced by Notch activation. Expression of a secreted Notch antagonist (Notch1 decoy) suppressed VEGF-mediated activation of endothelial Notch signaling and endothelial morphogenesis. We demonstrate that Notch mediates VEGF-induced matrix metalloprotease activity via induction of MMP9 and MT1-MMP expression and activation of MMP2. Introduction of a MMP inhibitor blocked Notch-mediated endothelial morphogenesis. In mice, analysis of VEGF-induced dermal angiogenesis demonstrated that the Notch1 decoy reduced perivascular MMP9 expression.
Taken together, our data demonstrate that Notch signaling can act downstream of VEGF signaling to regulate endothelial cell morphogenesis via induction and activation of specific MMPs. In a murine model of VEGF-induced dermal angiogenesis, Notch inhibition led to reduced MMP9 expression.
PMCID: PMC3039832  PMID: 21349159
17.  Simvastatin Increases Notch Signaling Activity and Promotes Arteriogenesis After Stroke 
Background and Purpose
Notch signaling activity regulates arteriogenesis. Presenilin 1 (PS1) mediates Notch signaling activity via cleavage of Notch, liberating Notch intracellular domain (NICD). We tested the hypothesis that simvastatin enhances arteriogenesis after stroke by increasing PS1 activation of the Notch signaling pathway.
Rats were subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo) and treated with or without simvastatin (1 mg/kg) starting 24 hours after stroke and daily for 7 days; they were euthanized 14 days after stroke. Immunostaining, Western blot, and real-time polymerase chain reaction assays were performed.
Simvastatin significantly increased arterial diameter, density, and vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, and upregulated PS1, Notch1, and NICD expression in the ischemic border tissue and in the cerebral arteries compared with MCAo control rats, respectively. However, simvastatin did not increase arteriogenesis, PS1, and NICD expression in sham control animals. To investigate the mechanisms of simvastatin-induced arteriogenesis, primary cerebral artery cultures were used. Rats were subjected to MCAo and treated with or without simvastatin daily for 7 days. The cerebral arteries derived from these stroke rats were cultured in matrigel and treated with or without a γ40-secretase inhibitor II, which blocks Notch signaling activity, inhibiting NICD production. Arterial cell migration was measured. simvastatin treatment significantly increased arterial cell migration compared to control MCAo artery, whereas inhibition of Notch signaling activity by the γ40-secretase inhibitor II significantly attenuated simvastatin-induced arterial cell migration.
These data indicate that simvastatin increases arteriogenesis after stroke, and that simvastatin upregulation of PS1 expression and Notch signaling activity may facilitate an increase in arteriogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2804086  PMID: 18927449
arteriogenesis; Notch signaling; presenilin 1; simvastatin; stroke
18.  Notch Signaling Change in Pulmonary Vascular Remodeling in Rats with Pulmonary Hypertension and Its Implication for Therapeutic Intervention 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51514.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a fatal disease that lacks an effective therapy. Notch signaling pathway plays a crucial role in the angiogenesis and vascular remodeling. However, its roles in vascular remodeling in PH have not been well studied. In the current study, using hypoxia-induced PH model in rat, we examined the expression of Notch and its downstream factors. Then, we used vessel strip culture system and γ-secretase inhibitor DAPT, a Notch signaling inhibitor to determine the effect of Notch signaling in vascular remodeling and its potential therapeutic value. Our results indicated that Notch 1–4 were detected in the lung tissue with variable levels in different cell types such as smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells of pulmonary artery, bronchia, and alveoli. In addition, following the PH induction, all of Notch1, Notch3, Notch4 receptor, and downstream factor, HERP1 in pulmonary arteries, mRNA expressions were increased with a peak at 1–2 weeks. Furthermore, the vessel wall thickness from rats with hypoxia treatment increased after cultured for 8 days, which could be decreased approximately 30% by DAPT, accompanied with significant increase of expression level of apoptotic factors (caspase-3 and Bax) and transformation of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotype from synthetic towards contractile. In conclusion, the current study suggested Notch pathway plays an important role in pulmonary vascular remodeling in PH and targeting Notch signaling pathway could be a valuable approach to design new therapy for PH.
PMCID: PMC3520790  PMID: 23251561
19.  17β-Estradiol Enhances Signalling Mediated by VEGF-A-Delta-Like Ligand 4-Notch1 Axis in Human Endothelial Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71440.
Estrogens play a protective role in coronary artery disease. The mechanisms of action are still poorly understood, although a role for estrogens in stimulation of angiogenesis has been suggested. In several cell types, estrogens modulate the Notch pathway, which is involved in controlling angiogenesis downstream of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A). The goal of our study was to establish whether estrogens modulate Notch activity in endothelial cells and the possible consequences on angiogenesis. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were treated with 17β-estradiol (E2) and the effects on Notch signalling were evaluated. E2 increased Notch1 processing as indicated by i) decreased levels of Notch1 transmembrane subunit ii) increased amount of Notch1 in nuclei iii) unaffected level of mRNA. Similarly, E2 increased the levels of the active form of Notch4 without altering Notch4 mRNA. Conversely, protein and mRNA levels of Notch2 were both reduced suggesting transcriptional repression of Notch2 by E2. Under conditions where Notch was activated by upregulation of Delta-like ligand 4 (Dll4) following VEGF-A treatment, E2 caused a further increase of the active form of Notch1, of the number of cells with nuclear Notch1 and of Hey2 mRNA. Estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182.780 antagonized these effects suggesting that E2 modulation of Notch1 is mediated by estrogen receptors. E2 treatment abolished the increase in endothelial cells sprouting caused by Notch inhibition in a tube formation assay on 3D Matrigel and in mouse aortic ring explants. In conclusion, E2 affects several Notch pathway components in HUVECs, leading to an activation of the VEGF-A-Dll4-Notch1 axis and to a modulation of vascular branching when Notch signalling is inhibited. These results contribute to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular protection exerted by estrogens by uncovering a novel role of E2 in the Notch signalling-mediated modulation of angiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3742772  PMID: 23967210
20.  Notch3 regulates the activation of hepatic stellate cells 
AIM: To investigate whether Notch signaling is involved in liver fibrosis by regulating the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs).
METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the expression of Notch3 in fibrotic liver tissues of patients with chronic active hepatitis. The expression of Notch3 in HSC-T6 cells treated or not with transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 was analyzed by immunofluorescence staining. The expression of Notch3 and myofibroblastic marker α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and collagen I in HSC-T6 cells transfected with pcDNA3.1-N3ICD or control vector were detected by Western blotting and immunofluorescence staining. Moreover, effects of Notch3 knockdown in HSC-T6 by Notch3 siRNA were investigated by Western blotting and immunofluorescence staining.
RESULTS: The expression of Notch3 was significantly up-regulated in fibrotic liver tissues of patients with chronic active hepatitis, but not detected in normal liver tissues. Active Notch signaling was found in HSC-T6 cells. TGF-β1 treatment led to up-regulation of Notch3 expression in HSC-T6 cells, and over-expression of Notch3 increased the expression of α-SMA and collagen I in HSC-T6 without TGF-β1 treatment. Interestingly, transient knockdown of Notch3 decreased the expression of myofibroblastic marker and antagonized TGF-β1-induced expression of α-SMA and collagen I in HSC-T6.
CONCLUSION: Notch3 may regulate the activation of HSCs, and the selective interruption of Notch3 may provide an anti-fibrotic strategy in hepatic fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC3319968  PMID: 22493555
Notch signaling; Myofibroblast; Liver fibrosis; Hepatic stellate cells; siRNA
21.  Platelet-derived growth factor B chain is a novel target gene of cocaine-mediated Notch1 signaling: Implications for HIV-associated neurological disorders 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2011;31(35):12449-12454.
Neuroinflammation associated with HIV-1 infection is exacerbated in cocaine-abusing, HIV+ individuals. The underlying mechanisms are, in part, attributable to disruption of the blood-brain barrier modulated by cocaine via platelet-derived growth factor B chain (PDGF-B). Since Notch signaling plays a critical role in CNS homeostasis, we rationalized its role in cocaine-mediated induction of PDGF-B. The goal of this study was to link Notch signaling with PDGF-B. Using Western blot analysis we demonstrate the role of Notch1 signaling in cocaine-mediated induction of PDGF-B in human brain microvascular endothelial cells. Exposure of cells to the γ-secretase inhibitor-DAPT or silencing of Notch1 resulted in abrogation of cocaine-mediated induction of PDGF-B. Reciprocally, activation of the Notch1 receptor by exposing cells to the Notch ligand Jagged-1 resulted in upregulation of PDGF-B expression. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that cocaine-mediated activation of Notch1 signaling leading to targeted expression of PDGF-B involved activation of the downstream effector CSL. Functional implication of Notch1 signaling in regulating expression of the vascular permeant PDGF-B was confirmed in vitro using cell permeability assays. In vivo relevance was further corroborated in cocaine-treated mice that demonstrated increased permeability of the endothelial barrier as evidenced by Evans blue and sodium fluorescein extravasation. Specificity of Notch1 signaling in vivo was validated in mice exposed to DAPT that failed to demonstrate barrier disruption following cocaine exposure. This is the first evidence of involvement of Notch1 activation in cocaine-mediated regulation of PDGF-B expression.
PMCID: PMC3283138  PMID: 21880906
22.  Notch signaling in the vasculature 
Notch signaling is an evolutionarily-conserved, intercellular signaling mechanism that plays myriad roles during vascular development and physiology in vertebrates. These roles include the regulation of arteriovenous specification and differentiation in both endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells, regulation of blood vessel sprouting and branching during normal and pathological angiogenesis, and the physiological responses of vascular smooth muscle cells. Defects in Notch signaling also cause inherited vascular diseases, such as the degenerative vascular disorder Cerebral Autosomal Dominant Arteriopathy with Subcortical Infarcts and Leukoencephalopathy (CADASIL). This review summarizes recent studies that highlight the multiple roles the Notch signaling pathway plays during vascular development and physiology.
PMCID: PMC3659771  PMID: 20816399
23.  Complex interplay between β-catenin signalling and Notch effectors in intestinal tumorigenesis 
Gut  2011;60(2):166-176.
The activation of β-catenin signalling is a key step in intestinal tumorigenesis. Interplay between the β-catenin and Notch pathways during tumorigenesis has been reported, but the mechanisms involved and the role of Notch remain unclear.
Notch status was analysed by studying expression of the Notch effector Hes1 and Notch ligands/receptors in human colorectal cancer (CRC) and mouse models of Apc mutation. A genetic approach was used, deleting the Apc and RBP-J or Atoh1 genes in murine intestine. CRC cell lines were used to analyse the control of Hes1 and Atoh1 by β-catenin signalling.
Notch signalling was found to be activated downstream from β-catenin. It was rapidly induced and maintained throughout tumorigenesis. Hes1 induction was mediated by β-catenin and resulted from both the induction of the Notch ligand/receptor and Notch-independent control of the Hes1 promoter by β-catenin. Surprisingly, the strong phenotype of unrestricted proliferation and impaired differentiation induced by acute Apc deletion in the intestine was not rescued by conditional Notch inactivation. Hyperactivation of β-catenin signalling overrode the forced differention induced by Notch inhibition, through the downregulation of Atoh1, a key secretory determinant factor downstream of Notch. This process involves glycogen synthase kinase 3 β (GSK3β) and proteasome-mediated degradation. The restoration of Atoh1 expression in CRC cell lines displaying β-catenin activation was sufficient to increase goblet cell differentiation, whereas genetic ablation of Atoh1 greatly increased tumour formation in Apc mutant mice.
Notch signalling is a downstream target of β-catenin hyperactivation in intestinal tumorigenesis. However, its inhibition had no tumour suppressor effect in the context of acute β-catenin activation probably due to the downregulation of Atoh1. This finding calls into question the use of γ-secretase inhibitors for the treatment of CRC and suggests that the restoration of Atoh1 expression in CRC should be considered as a therapeutic approach.
PMCID: PMC3022366  PMID: 21205878
Intestine; β-catenin; RBP-J; Hes1; Atoh1; proliferation; differentiation; cell proliferation; cell signalling; colorectal cancer genes; differentiation; molecular carcinogenesis
24.  The roles of Notch1 expression in the migration of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:244.
Notch signaling, a critical pathway for tissue development, contributes to tumorigenesis in many tissues; however, the roles of Notch signaling in Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) remains unclear. In this study, we evaluated the expression and effects of Notch1 on cell migration in ICC.
Multiple cellular and molecular approaches were performed including gene transfection, siRNA transfection, RT-PCR, Western blotting, Rac activation assays and immunofluorescence.
We found that Notch1 was up-regulated in ICC tissues and cell lines. The exogenous expression of Notch1 in glioma cells increased their migratory and invasive capacity. Similarly, the suppression of Notch1 expression inactivated Rac1 and inhibited ICC cell migration. Notch1 over expression induced an Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype that included enhanced expression of α-SMA and Vimentin, loss of E-cadherin expression, morphological changes and cytoskeletal reorganization in ICC cells.
Notch1 may induce a migratory effect in ICC by causing an epithelial-mesenchymal transition and activating Rac1 and could serve as a novel diagnostic and therapeutic target in patients with ICC.
PMCID: PMC3685549  PMID: 23688168
Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma; Notch1; Migration
25.  Inhibition of Notch Signaling Blocks Growth of Glioblastoma Cell Lines and Tumor Neurospheres 
Genes & cancer  2010;1(8):822-835.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor that is characterized by high proliferative rate and invasiveness. Since dysregualtion of Notch signaling is implicated in the pathogenesis of many human cancers, here we investigated the role of Notch signaling in GBM. We found that there is aberrant activation of Notch signaling in GBM cell lines and human GBM-derived neurospheres. Inhibition of Notch signaling via the expression of a dominant negative form of the Notch co-activator, mastermind-like 1 (DN-MAML1) or the treatment of a γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI) MRK-003 resulted in a significant reduction in GBM cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Knockdown of individual Notch receptors revealed that Notch1 and Notch2 receptors differentially contributed to GBM cell growth, with Notch2 having a predominant role. Furthermore, blockade of Notch signaling inhibited the proliferation of human GBM-derived neurospheres in vitro and in vivo. Our overall data indicate that Notch signaling contributes significantly to optimal GBM growth, strongly supporting that the Notch pathway is a promising therapeutic target for GBM.
PMCID: PMC2994256  PMID: 21127729
Notch signaling; Glioblastoma; Tumor neurospheres; γ-secretase inhibitor; Cell growth

Results 1-25 (952651)