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1.  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
Calcified Tissue International  2011;90(2):69-75.
Notch signaling mediates cell to cell interactions that are critical for embryonic development and tissue renewal. In the canonical signaling pathway, the Notch receptor is cleaved following ligand binding, resulting in the release and nuclear translocation of the Notch intracellular domain (NICD). NICD induces gene expression by forming a ternary complex with the DNA binding protein CBF1/Rbp-Jk, Suppressor of Hairless, Lag1 (CSL) and Mastermind-Like (Maml). Hairy Enhancer of Split (Hes) and Hes related with YRPW motif (Hey) are classic Notch target genes. Notch canonical signaling plays a central role in skeletal development and bone remodeling by suppressing the differentiation of skeletal cells. The skeletal phenotype of mice misexpressing Hes1 phenocopies partially the effects of Notch misexpression, suggesting that Hey proteins mediate most of the skeletal effects of Notch. Dysregulation of Notch signaling is associated with diseases affecting human skeletal development, such as Alagille Syndrome, Brachydactyly and Spondylocostal Dysostosis. Somatic mutations in Notch receptors and ligands are found in tumors of the skeletal system. Overexpression of NOTCH1 is associated with osteosarcoma, and overexpression of NOTCH3 or JAGGED1 in breast cancer cells favors the formation of osteolytic bone metastasis. Activating mutations in NOTCH2 cause Hajdu Cheney syndrome, which is characterized by skeletal defects and fractures, and JAG1 polymorphisms are associated with variations in bone mineral density. In conclusion, Notch is a regulator of skeletal development and bone remodeling and abnormal Notch signaling is associated with developmental and postnatal skeletal disorders.
PMCID: PMC3272107  PMID: 22002679
3.  Notch receptor inhibition reveals the importance of cyclin D1 and Wnt signaling in invasive esophageal squamous cell carcinoma 
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is one of the most aggressive forms of squamous cell carcinomas. Common genetic lesions in ESCC include p53 mutations and EGFR overexpression, both of which have been implicated in negative regulation of Notch signaling. In addition, cyclin D1 is overexpressed in ESCC and can be activated via EGFR, Notch and Wnt signaling. To elucidate how these genetic lesions may interact during the development and progression of ESCC, we tested a panel of genetically engineered human esophageal cells (keratinocytes) in organotypic 3D culture (OTC), a form of human tissue engineering. Notch signaling was suppressed in culture and mice by dominant negative Mastermind-like1 (DNMAML1), a genetic pan-Notch inhibitor. DNMAML1 mice were subjected to 4-Nitroquinoline 1-oxide-induced oral-esophageal carcinogenesis. Highly invasive characteristics of primary human ESCC were recapitulated in OTC as well as DNMAML1 mice. In OTC, cyclin D1 overexpression induced squamous hyperplasia. Concurrent EGFR overexpression and mutant p53 resulted in transformation and invasive growth. Interestingly, cell proliferation appeared to be regulated differentially between those committed to squamous-cell differentiation and those invading into the stroma. Invasive cells exhibited Notch-independent activation of cyclin D1 and Wnt signaling. Within the oral-esophageal squamous epithelia, Notch signaling regulated squamous-cell differentiation to maintain epithelial integrity, and thus may act as a tumor suppressor by preventing the development of a tumor-promoting inflammatory microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC3410579  PMID: 22860235
Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; organotypic 3D culture; EGFR; P53; cyclin D1; Wnt; Notch; squamous-cell differentiation; invasion; 4-Nitroquinoline 1-oxide
4.  Canonical Notch signaling is dispensable for the maintenance of adult hematopoietic stem cells 
Cell stem cell  2008;2(4):356-366.
Gain-of-function experiments have demonstrated the potential of Notch signals to expand primitive hematopoietic progenitors, but whether Notch physiologically regulates hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) homeostasis in vivo is unclear. To answer this question, we evaluated the effect of global deficiencies of canonical Notch signaling in rigorous HSC assays. Hematopoietic progenitors expressing dominant negative Mastermind-like1 (DNMAML), a potent inhibitor of Notch-mediated transcriptional activation, achieved stable long-term reconstitution of irradiated hosts and showed a normal frequency of progenitor fractions enriched for long-term HSCs. Similar results were observed with cells lacking CSL/RBPJ, a DNA-binding factor that is required for canonical Notch signaling. Notch-deprived progenitors provided normal long-term reconstitution after secondary competitive transplantation. Furthermore, Notch target genes were expressed at low levels in primitive hematopoietic progenitors. Taken together, these results rule out an essential physiological role for cell-autonomous canonical Notch signals in HSC maintenance.
PMCID: PMC3717373  PMID: 18397755
5.  N-Termini of Fungal CSL Transcription Factors Are Disordered, Enriched in Regulatory Motifs and Inhibit DNA Binding in Fission Yeast 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23650.
CSL (CBF1/RBP-Jκ/Suppressor of Hairless/LAG-1) transcription factors are the effector components of the Notch receptor signalling pathway, which is critical for metazoan development. The metazoan CSL proteins (class M) can also function in a Notch-independent manner. Recently, two novel classes of CSL proteins, designated F1 and F2, have been identified in fungi. The role of the fungal CSL proteins is unclear, because the Notch pathway is not present in fungi. In fission yeast, the Cbf11 and Cbf12 CSL paralogs play antagonistic roles in cell adhesion and the coordination of cell and nuclear division. Unusually long N-terminal extensions are typical for fungal and invertebrate CSL family members. In this study, we investigate the functional significance of these extended N-termini of CSL proteins.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We identify 15 novel CSL family members from 7 fungal species and conduct bioinformatic analyses of a combined dataset containing 34 fungal and 11 metazoan CSL protein sequences. We show that the long, non-conserved N-terminal tails of fungal CSL proteins are likely disordered and enriched in phosphorylation sites and PEST motifs. In a case study of Cbf12 (class F2), we provide experimental evidence that the protein is proteolytically processed and that the N-terminus inhibits the Cbf12-dependent DNA binding activity in an electrophoretic mobility shift assay.
This study provides insight into the characteristics of the long N-terminal tails of fungal CSL proteins that may be crucial for controlling DNA-binding and CSL function. We propose that the regulation of DNA binding by Cbf12 via its N-terminal region represents an important means by which fission yeast strikes a balance between the class F1 and class F2 paralog activities. This mode of regulation might be shared with other CSL-positive fungi, some of which are relevant to human disease and biotechnology.
PMCID: PMC3155561  PMID: 21858190
6.  A NOTCH3-mediated squamous cell differentiation program limits expansion of EMT competent cells that express the ZEB transcription factors 
Cancer research  2011;71(21):6836-6847.
Zinc finger E-box binding (ZEB) proteins ZEB1 and ZEB2 are transcription factors essential in transforming growth factor (TGF)-β-mediated senescence, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer stem cell function. ZEBs are negatively regulated by members of the miR-200 microRNA family, but precisely how tumor cells expressing ZEBs emerge during invasive growth remains unknown. Here we report that NOTCH3-mediated signaling prevents expansion of a unique subset of ZEB-expressing cells. ZEB expression was associated with the lack of cellular capability of undergoing NOTCH3-mediated squamous differentiation in human esophageal cells. Genetic inhibition of the Notch-mediated transcriptional activity by dominant-negative Mastermind-like1 (DNMAML1) prevented squamous differentiation and induction of Notch target genes including NOTCH3. Moreover, DNMAML1 enriched EMT competent cells exhibited robust upregulation of ZEBs, downregulation of the miR-200 family, and enhanced anchorage independent growth and tumor formation in nude mice. RNA interference (RNAi) experiments suggested the involvement of ZEBs in anchorage independent colony formation, invasion and TGF-β-mediated EMT. Invasive growth and impaired squamous differentiation was recapitulated upon Notch inhibition by DNMAML1 in organotypic 3D culture, a form of human tissue engineering. Together, our findings indicate that NOTCH3 is a key factor limiting the expansion of ZEB-expressing cells, providing novel mechanistic insights into the role of Notch signaling in the cell fate regulation and disease progression of squamous esophageal cancers.
PMCID: PMC3206139  PMID: 21890822
Notch; EMT; squamous cell differentiation; ZEB1; miR-200
7.  The requirement for Notch signaling at the β-selection checkpoint in vivo is absolute and independent of the pre–T cell receptor 
The Journal of Experimental Medicine  2006;203(10):2239-2245.
Genetic inactivation of Notch signaling in CD4−CD8− double-negative (DN) thymocytes was previously shown to impair T cell receptor (TCR) gene rearrangement and to cause a partial block in CD4+CD8+ double-positive (DP) thymocyte development in mice. In contrast, in vitro cultures suggested that Notch was absolutely required for the generation of DP thymocytes independent of pre-TCR expression and activity. To resolve the respective role of Notch and the pre-TCR, we inhibited Notch-mediated transcriptional activation in vivo with a green fluorescent protein–tagged dominant-negative Mastermind-like 1 (DNMAML) that allowed us to track single cells incapable of Notch signaling. DNMAML expression in DN cells led to decreased production of DP thymocytes but only to a modest decrease in intracellular TCRβ expression. DNMAML attenuated the pre-TCR–associated increase in cell size and CD27 expression. TCRβ or TCRαβ transgenes failed to rescue DNMAML-related defects. Intrathymic injections of DNMAML− or DNMAML+ DN thymocytes revealed a complete DN/DP transition block, with production of DNMAML+ DP thymocytes only from cells undergoing late Notch inactivation. These findings indicate that the Notch requirement during the β-selection checkpoint in vivo is absolute and independent of the pre-TCR, and it depends on transcriptional activation by Notch via the CSL/RBP-J–MAML complex.
PMCID: PMC2118105  PMID: 16966428
8.  Activated Notch1 Target Genes during Embryonic Cell Differentiation Depend on the Cellular Context and Include Lineage Determinants and Inhibitors 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(7):e11481.
Notch receptor signaling controls developmental cell fates in a cell-context dependent manner. Although Notch signaling directly regulates transcription via the RBP-J/CSL DNA binding protein, little is known about the target genes that are directly activated by Notch in the respective tissues.
Methodology/Principal Findings
To analyze how Notch signaling mediates its context dependent function(s), we utilized a Tamoxifen-inducible system to activate Notch1 in murine embryonic stem cells at different stages of mesodermal differentiation and performed global transcriptional analyses. We find that the majority of genes regulated by Notch1 are unique for the cell type and vary widely dependent on other signals. We further show that Notch1 signaling regulates expression of genes playing key roles in cell differentiation, cell cycle control and apoptosis in a context dependent manner. In addition to the known Notch1 targets of the Hes and Hey families of transcriptional repressors, Notch1 activates the expression of regulatory transcription factors such as Sox9, Pax6, Runx1, Myf5 and Id proteins that are critically involved in lineage decisions in the absence of protein synthesis.
We suggest that Notch signaling determines lineage decisions and expansion of stem cells by directly activating both key lineage specific transcription factors and their repressors (Id and Hes/Hey proteins) and propose a model by which Notch signaling regulates cell fate commitment and self renewal in dependence of the intrinsic and extrinsic cellular context.
PMCID: PMC2900208  PMID: 20628604
9.  Assembly of a Notch Transcriptional Activation Complex Requires Multimerization ▿ 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(7):1396-1408.
Notch transmembrane receptors direct essential cellular processes, such as proliferation and differentiation, through direct cell-to-cell interactions. Inappropriate release of the intracellular domain of Notch (NICD) from the plasma membrane results in the accumulation of deregulated nuclear NICD that has been linked to human cancers, notably T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Nuclear NICD forms a transcriptional activation complex by interacting with the coactivator protein Mastermind-like 1 and the DNA binding protein CSL (for CBF-1/Suppressor of Hairless/Lag-1) to regulate target gene expression. Although it is well understood that NICD forms a transcriptional activation complex, little is known about how the complex is assembled. In this study, we demonstrate that NICD multimerizes and that these multimers function as precursors for the stepwise assembly of the Notch activation complex. Importantly, we demonstrate that the assembly is mediated by NICD multimers interacting with Skip and Mastermind. These interactions form a preactivation complex that is then resolved by CSL to form the Notch transcriptional activation complex on DNA.
PMCID: PMC3135300  PMID: 21245387
10.  Fission Yeast CSL Proteins Function as Transcription Factors 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59435.
Transcription factors of the CSL (CBF1/RBP-Jk/Suppressor of Hairless/LAG-1) family are key regulators of metazoan development and function as the effector components of the Notch receptor signalling pathway implicated in various cell fate decisions. CSL proteins recognize specifically the GTG[G/A]AA sequence motif and several mutants compromised in their ability to bind DNA have been reported. In our previous studies we have identified a number of novel putative CSL family members in fungi, organisms lacking the Notch pathway. It is not clear whether these represent genuine CSL family members.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Using a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches we characterized the DNA binding properties of Cbf11 and Cbf12, the antagonistic CSL paralogs from the fission yeast, important for the proper coordination of cell cycle events and the regulation of cell adhesion. We have shown that a mutation of a conserved arginine residue abolishes DNA binding in both CSL paralogs, similar to the situation in mouse. We have also demonstrated the ability of Cbf11 and Cbf12 to activate gene expression in an autologous fission yeast reporter system.
Our results indicate that the fission yeast CSL proteins are indeed genuine family members capable of functioning as transcription factors, and provide support for the ancient evolutionary origin of this important protein family.
PMCID: PMC3598750  PMID: 23555033
11.  Myeloid Translocation Gene 16 (MTG16) Interacts with Notch Transcription Complex Components To Integrate Notch Signaling in Hematopoietic Cell Fate Specification▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2010;30(7):1852-1863.
The Notch signaling pathway regulates gene expression programs to influence the specification of cell fate in diverse tissues. In response to ligand binding, the intracellular domain of the Notch receptor is cleaved by the γ-secretase complex and then translocates to the nucleus. There, it binds the transcriptional repressor CSL, triggering its conversion to an activator of Notch target gene expression. The events that control this conversion are poorly understood. We show that the transcriptional corepressor, MTG16, interacts with both CSL and the intracellular domains of Notch receptors, suggesting a pivotal role in regulation of the Notch transcription complex. The Notch1 intracellular domain disrupts the MTG16-CSL interaction. Ex vivo fate specification in response to Notch signal activation is impaired in Mtg16−/− hematopoietic progenitors, and restored by MTG16 expression. An MTG16 derivative lacking the binding site for the intracellular domain of Notch1 fails to restore Notch-dependent cell fate. These data suggest that MTG16 interfaces with critical components of the Notch transcription complex to affect Notch-dependent lineage allocation in hematopoiesis.
PMCID: PMC2838074  PMID: 20123979
12.  Molecular Analysis of the Notch Repressor-Complex in Drosophila: Characterization of Potential Hairless Binding Sites on Suppressor of Hairless 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27986.
The Notch signalling pathway mediates cell-cell communication in a wide variety of organisms. The major components, as well as the basic mechanisms of Notch signal transduction, are remarkably well conserved amongst vertebrates and invertebrates. Notch signalling results in transcriptional activation of Notch target genes, which is mediated by an activator complex composed of the DNA binding protein CSL, the intracellular domain of the Notch receptor, and the transcriptional coactivator Mastermind. In the absence of active signalling, CSL represses transcription from Notch target genes by the recruitment of corepressors. The Notch activator complex is extremely well conserved and has been studied in great detail. However, Notch repressor complexes are far less understood. In Drosophila melanogaster, the CSL protein is termed Suppressor of Hairless [Su(H)]. Su(H) functions as a transcriptional repressor by binding Hairless, the major antagonist of Notch signalling in Drosophila, which in turn recruits two general corepressors – Groucho and C-terminal binding protein CtBP. Recently, we determined that the C-terminal domain (CTD) of Su(H) binds Hairless and identified a single site in Hairless, which is essential for contacting Su(H). Here we present additional biochemical and in vivo studies aimed at mapping the residues in Su(H) that contact Hairless. Focusing on surface exposed residues in the CTD, we identified two sites that affect Hairless binding in biochemical assays. Mutation of these sites neither affects binding to DNA nor to Notch. Subsequently, these Su(H) mutants were found to function normally in cellular and in vivo assays using transgenic flies. However, these experiments rely on Su(H) overexpression, which does not allow for detection of quantitative or subtle differences in activity. We discuss the implications of our results.
PMCID: PMC3220720  PMID: 22125648
13.  Notching up another pathway 
The Notch proteins play a vital role in cell fate decisions in both invertebrate and vertebrate development. Careful analysis of this role has led to a model of signalling downstream of these receptors, via the CSL (CBF1, Suppressor of Hairless, Lag-1) family of transcription factors. However there have been suggestions that Notch can signal through other pathways. In the current paper, Ramain et al. (1) provide compelling evidence for Notch signalling through a CSL-independent pathway and they demonstrate that the cytoplasmic protein, Deltex, is required for this signal. In addition they show that Wnt signalling may regulate this Deltex dependent signal.
PMCID: PMC2494613  PMID: 12001263
Notch; Deltex; Wnt; cell signalling; cross-talk
14.  Real-time imaging of Notch activation using a Luciferase Complementation-based Reporter* 
Science Signaling  2011;4(181):rs7.
Notch signaling regulates many cellular processes during development and adult tissue renewal. Upon ligand binding, Notch receptors undergo ectodomain shedding followed by γ-secretase-mediated release of the Notch intracellular domain (NICD), which translocates to the nucleus and associates with the DNA-binding protein CSL (CBF1/RBPjκ/Su(H)/Lag1) to activate gene expression. Mammalian cells contain four Notch receptors that can have both redundant and specific activities. To monitor activation of specific Notch paralogs in live cells and in real time, we developed luciferase complementation imaging (LCI) reporters for NICD/CSL association and validated them as a specific, robust and sensitive assay system that enables structure-function and pharmacodynamic analyses. Detailed kinetic analyses of various mechanistic aspects of Notch signaling, including nuclear translocation, γ-secretase and ADAM inhibition, as well as agonist- and ligand-dependent activation were conducted in live cells. Notch-LCI represents a powerful approach for characterizing modulators that target Notch signaling and for studying pathway dynamics in normal and disease contexts.
PMCID: PMC3387985  PMID: 21775282
15.  Notch and MAML-1 Complexation Do Not Detectably Alter the DNA Binding Specificity of the Transcription Factor CSL 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e15034.
Canonical Notch signaling is initiated when ligand binding induces proteolytic release of the intracellular part of Notch (ICN) from the cell membrane. ICN then travels into the nucleus where it drives the assembly of a transcriptional activation complex containing the DNA-binding transcription factor CSL, ICN, and a specialized co-activator of the Mastermind family. A consensus DNA binding site motif for the CSL protein was previously defined using selection-based methods, but whether subsequent association of Notch and Mastermind-like proteins affects the DNA binding preferences of CSL has not previously been examined.
Principal Findings
Here, we utilized protein-binding microarrays (PBMs) to compare the binding site preferences of isolated CSL with the preferred binding sites of CSL when bound to the CSL-binding domains of all four different human Notch receptors. Measurements were taken both in the absence and in the presence of Mastermind-like-1 (MAML1). Our data show no detectable difference in the DNA binding site preferences of CSL before and after loading of Notch and MAML1 proteins.
These findings support the conclusion that accrual of Notch and MAML1 promote transcriptional activation without dramatically altering the preferred sites of DNA binding, and illustrate the potential of PBMs to analyze the binding site preferences of multiprotein-DNA complexes.
PMCID: PMC2991368  PMID: 21124806
16.  Fungal CSL transcription factors 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:233.
The CSL (CBF1/RBP-Jκ/Suppressor of Hairless/LAG-1) transcription factor family members are well-known components of the transmembrane receptor Notch signaling pathway, which plays a critical role in metazoan development. They function as context-dependent activators or repressors of transcription of their responsive genes, the promoters of which harbor the GTG(G/A)GAA consensus elements. Recently, several studies described Notch-independent activities of the CSL proteins.
We have identified putative CSL genes in several fungal species, showing that this family is not confined to metazoans. We have analyzed their sequence conservation and identified the presence of well-defined domains typical of genuine CSL proteins. Furthermore, we have shown that the candidate fungal protein sequences contain highly conserved regions known to be required for sequence-specific DNA binding in their metazoan counterparts. The phylogenetic analysis of the newly identified fungal CSL proteins revealed the existence of two distinct classes, both of which are present in all the species studied.
Our findings support the evolutionary origin of the CSL transcription factor family in the last common ancestor of fungi and metazoans. We hypothesize that the ancestral CSL function involved DNA binding and Notch-independent regulation of transcription and that this function may still be shared, to a certain degree, by the present CSL family members from both fungi and metazoans.
PMCID: PMC1973085  PMID: 17629904
17.  p300 Acts as a Transcriptional Coactivator for Mammalian Notch-1 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(22):7761-7774.
Notch-1 belongs to a family of transmembrane receptor proteins that direct the decisions as to various cell fates. After ligand binding, a proteolytic cleavage step occurs and the intracellular part of Notch-1, Notch-1-IC, translocates into the nucleus, where it targets the DNA binding protein RBP-Jκ/CBF1. RBP-Jκ mediates repression through recruitment of a histone deacetylase-containing complex. The Notch-1-IC/RBP-Jκ complex overcomes repression and activates the transcription of Notch target genes. We have identified a novel domain in Notch-1-IC, the EP domain, which is indispensable for full transcriptional activation. This transactivation domain is localized adjacent to the ankyrin repeats of Notch-1-IC. In cotransfection experiments, Notch-1-IC-mediated transcriptional activation was inhibited by E1A12S and p53, two proteins, which interfere with the function of the common coactivator p300. Protein-protein interaction assays demonstrated the association of Notch-1-IC and the CH3 region of p300. In addition, the interaction of mammalian Notch-1-IC with p300 was destabilized after deletion of the EP domain of Notch-1-IC. Based on physical interaction with Notch-1-IC and coactivator functions of p300, we propose a model for Notch-1-mediated gene regulation via p300.
PMCID: PMC99946  PMID: 11604511
18.  Non-Canonical Notch Signaling: Emerging Role and Mechanism 
Trends in Cell Biology  2012;22(5):257-265.
Notch is an ancient transmembrane receptor with critical roles in cell-fate choices. While the “canonical” Notch pathway and its core members are well established -- involving ligand-induced cleavage of Notch for transcriptional regulation -- it has been unclear whether Notch can also function independent of ligand and transcription (‘non-canonically’) through a common mechanism. Recent studies suggest that Notch can non-canonically exert its biological functions by posttranslationally targeting Wnt/β-catenin signaling, an important cellular and developmental regulator. The non-canonical Notch pathway appears to be highly conserved from flies to mammals. Here, we discuss the emerging conserved mechanism and role of ligand/transcription-independent Notch signaling in cell and developmental biology.
PMCID: PMC3348455  PMID: 22397947
Notch; Wnt/β-Catenin; Numb; DAPT; Stem and Progenitor Cells; Cancer
19.  Notch alters VEGF responsiveness in human and murine endothelial cells by direct regulation of VEGFR-3 expression 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(11):3369-3382.
The Notch family of cell surface receptors and its ligands are highly conserved proteins that regulate cell fate determination, including those involved in mammalian vascular development. We report that Notch induces VEGFR-3 expression in vitro in human endothelial cells and in vivo in mice. In vitro, Notch in complex with the DNA-binding protein CBF-1/suppressor of hairless/Lag1 (CSL) bound the VEGFR-3 promoter and transactivated VEGFR-3 specifically in endothelial cells. Through induction of VEGFR-3, Notch increased endothelial cell responsiveness to VEGF-C, promoting endothelial cell survival and morphological changes. In vivo, VEGFR-3 was upregulated in endothelial cells with active Notch signaling. Mice heterozygous for null alleles of both Notch1 and VEGFR-3 had significantly reduced viability and displayed midgestational vascular patterning defects analogous to Notch1 nullizygous embryos. We found that Notch1 and Notch4 were expressed in normal and tumor lymphatic endothelial cells and that Notch1 was activated in lymphatic endothelium of invasive mammary micropapillary carcinomas. These results demonstrate that Notch1 and VEGFR-3 interact genetically, that Notch directly induces VEGFR-3 in blood endothelial cells to regulate vascular development, and that Notch may function in tumor lymphangiogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2030453  PMID: 17948123
20.  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
21.  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 dysregulation 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 coactivator, 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
22.  Notch and Wnt Signaling Cooperate in Regulation of Dendritic Cell Differentiation 
Immunity  2009;30(6):845-859.
Dendritic cell (DC) differentiation is regulated by stroma via a network of soluble and cell-bound factors. Notch is one of the major elements of this network. Its role in DC differentiation, however, is controversial. Here, we demonstrate that activation of Notch signaling in hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC) up-regulates differentiation of conventional DCs via activation of the canonical Wnt pathway. Inhibition of the Wnt pathway abrogated the effect of Notch on DC differentiation. Activation of the Wnt pathway in Notch-1-deficient embryonic stem cells restored DC differentiation, which indicates that Wnt signaling is downstream of the Notch pathway in regulating DC differentiation. Notch signaling activated the Wnt pathway in HPCs via up-regulated expression of multiple members of the Frizzled family of Wnt receptors. That expression was directly regulated by the CSL/RPB-Jκ transcription factor. Thus, these data suggest a new model of DC differentiation via cooperation between Wnt and Notch pathways.
PMCID: PMC2700307  PMID: 19523851
23.  Notch2 (but not Notch1) is required for proximal fate acquisition in the mammalian nephron 
Development (Cambridge, England)  2007;134(4):801-811.
The Notch pathway regulates cell fate determination in numerous developmental processes. Here we report that Notch2 acts non-redundantly to control the processes of nephron segmentation through an RBP-J dependent process. Notch1 and Notch2 are detected in the early renal vesicle (RV). Genetic analysis reveals that only Notch2 is required for the differentiation of proximal nephron structures (podocytes and proximal convoluted tubules (PCT)) despite the presence of activated Notch1 in the nuclei of putative proximal progenitors. The inability of endogenous Notch1 to compensate for Notch2 deficiency may reflect sub-threshold Notch1 levels in the nucleus. In line with this view, forced expression of a γ-secretase independent form of Notch1 intracellular domain drives the specification of proximal fates where all endogenous, ligand-dependent Notch signaling is blocked by a γ-secretase inhibitor. These results establish distinct (non-redundant), instructive roles for Notch receptors in nephron segmentation.
PMCID: PMC2613851  PMID: 17229764
Notch; RBPjk; Wnt4; proximal tubule; podocytes; nephron segmentation
24.  Involvement of Notch Signaling in Wound Healing 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(11):e1167.
The Notch signaling pathway is critically involved in cell fate decisions during development of many tissues and organs. In the present study we employed in vivo and cell culture models to elucidate the role of Notch signaling in wound healing. The healing of full-thickness dermal wounds was significantly delayed in Notch antisense transgenic mice and in normal mice treated with γ-secretase inhibitors that block proteolytic cleavage and activation of Notch. In contrast, mice treated with a Notch ligand Jagged peptide showed significantly enhanced wound healing compared to controls. Activation or inhibition of Notch signaling altered the behaviors of cultured vascular endothelial cells, keratinocytes and fibroblasts in a scratch wound healing model in ways consistent with roles for Notch signaling in wound healing functions all three cell types. These results suggest that Notch signaling plays important roles in wound healing and tissue repair, and that targeting the Notch pathway might provide a novel strategy for treatment of wounds and for modulation of angiogenesis in other pathological conditions.
PMCID: PMC2048753  PMID: 18000539
25.  RBP-Jκ/SHARP Recruits CtIP/CtBP Corepressors To Silence Notch Target Genes 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(23):10379-10390.
Notch is a transmembrane receptor that determines cell fates and pattern formation in all animal species. After ligand binding, proteolytic cleavage steps occur and the intracellular part of Notch translocates to the nucleus, where it targets the DNA-binding protein RBP-Jκ/CBF1. In the absence of Notch, RBP-Jκ represses Notch target genes through the recruitment of a corepressor complex. We and others have identified SHARP as a component of this complex. Here, we functionally demonstrate that the SHARP repression domain is necessary and sufficient to repress transcription and that the absence of this domain causes a dominant negative Notch-like phenotype. We identify the CtIP and CtBP corepressors as novel components of the human RBP-Jκ/SHARP-corepressor complex and show that CtIP binds directly to the SHARP repression domain. Functionally, CtIP and CtBP augment SHARP-mediated repression. Transcriptional repression of the Notch target gene Hey1 is abolished in CtBP-deficient cells or after the functional knockout of CtBP. Furthermore, the endogenous Hey1 promoter is derepressed in CtBP-deficient cells. We propose that a corepressor complex containing CtIP/CtBP facilitates RBP-Jκ/SHARP-mediated repression of Notch target genes.
PMCID: PMC1291242  PMID: 16287852

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