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1.  Insights into Notch3 Activation and Inhibition Mediated by Antibodies Directed Against its Negative Regulatory Region 
Journal of molecular biology  2013;425(17):3192-3204.
Notch receptors are single-pass transmembrane proteins that regulate development and tissue homeostasis in all metazoan organisms. Prior to ligand-induced signaling, Notch receptors adopt a proteolytic-resistant conformation maintained by a critical interdomain interface within a negative regulatory region (NRR), which sits immediately external to the plasma membrane. Signaling is initiated when ligand binding induces exposure of the proteolytic cleavage site, termed S2, within the NRR. Here, we use hydrogen exchange in conjunction with mass spectrometry (HX-MS) to study the dynamics of the human Notch3 NRR in four distinct biochemical states: in its unmodified quiescent form, in a proteolytically “on” state induced by EDTA, and in complex with either agonist or inhibitory antibodies. Induction of the “on” state by either EDTA or the agonist monoclonal antibody leads to accelerated deuteration in the region of the S2 cleavage site, reflecting an increase in S2 dynamics. In contrast, complexation of the Notch3 NRR with an inhibitory antibody retards deteuration not only across its discontinuous binding epitope, but also around the S2 site, stabilizing the NRR in its “off” state. Together with previous work investigating the dynamics of the Notch1 NRR, these studies show that key features of autoinhibition and activation are shared among different Notch receptors, and provide additional insights into mechanisms of Notch activation and inhibition by modulatory antibodies.
PMCID: PMC3751422  PMID: 23747483
2.  Evidence for Increased Exposure of the Notch1 Metalloprotease Cleavage Site upon Conversion to an Activated Conformation 
Notch proteins are transmembrane receptors that normally adopt a resting state poised to undergo activating proteolysis upon ligand engagement. Receptor quiescence is maintained by three LIN12/Notch repeats (LNRs), which wrap around a heterodimerization domain (HD) divided by furin cleavage at site S1 during maturation. Ligand binding initiates signaling by inducing sensitivity of the HD to proteolysis at the regulated S2 cleavage site. Here, we used hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry to examine the solution dynamics of the Notch1 negative regulatory region in autoinhibited states before and after S1 cleavage, in a proteolytically sensitive “on” state, and in a complex with an inhibitory antibody. Conversion to the “on” state leads to accelerated deuteration in the S2 region and in nearby secondary structural elements within the HD. In contrast, complexation with the inhibitory antibody retards deuteration around the S2 site. Together, these studies reveal how S2 site exposure is promoted by receptor activation and suppressed by inhibitory antibodies.
PMCID: PMC3075624  PMID: 21481777
3.  Characterization of Notch1 Antibodies That Inhibit Signaling of Both Normal and Mutated Notch1 Receptors 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9094.
Notch receptors normally play a key role in guiding a variety of cell fate decisions during development and differentiation of metazoan organisms. On the other hand, dysregulation of Notch1 signaling is associated with many different types of cancer as well as tumor angiogenesis, making Notch1 a potential therapeutic target.
Principal Findings
Here we report the in vitro activities of inhibitory Notch1 monoclonal antibodies derived from cell-based and solid-phase screening of a phage display library. Two classes of antibodies were found, one directed against the EGF-repeat region that encompasses the ligand-binding domain (LBD), and the second directed against the activation switch of the receptor, the Notch negative regulatory region (NRR). The antibodies are selective for Notch1, inhibiting Jag2-dependent signaling by Notch1 but not by Notch 2 and 3 in reporter gene assays, with EC50 values as low as 5±3 nM and 0.13±0.09 nM for the LBD and NRR antibodies, respectively, and fail to recognize Notch4. While more potent, NRR antibodies are incomplete antagonists of Notch1 signaling. The antagonistic activity of LBD, but not NRR, antibodies is strongly dependent on the activating ligand. Both LBD and NRR antibodies bind to Notch1 on human tumor cell lines and inhibit the expression of sentinel Notch target genes, including HES1, HES5, and DTX1. NRR antibodies also strongly inhibit ligand-independent signaling in heterologous cells transiently expressing Notch1 receptors with diverse NRR “class I” point mutations, the most common type of mutation found in human T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). In contrast, NRR antibodies failed to antagonize Notch1 receptors bearing rare “class II” or “class III” mutations, in which amino acid insertions generate a duplicated or constitutively sensitive metalloprotease cleavage site. Signaling in T-ALL cell lines bearing class I mutations is partially refractory to inhibitory antibodies as compared to cell-penetrating gamma-secretase inhibitors.
Antibodies that compete with Notch1 ligand binding or that bind to the negative regulatory region can act as potent inhibitors of Notch1 signaling. These antibodies may have clinical utility for conditions in which inhibition of signaling by wild-type Notch1 is desired, but are likely to be of limited value for treatment of T-ALLs associated with aberrant Notch1 activation.
PMCID: PMC2817004  PMID: 20161710

Results 1-3 (3)