Development (Cambridge, England)

The notch 3 intracellular domain represses notch 1-mediated activation through Hairy/Enhancer of split (HES) promoters.

PMID 10433920


The Notch signaling pathway is important for cellular differentiation. The current view is that the Notch receptor is cleaved intracellularly upon ligand activation. The intracellular Notch domain then translocates to the nucleus, binds to Suppressor of Hairless (RBP-Jk in mammals), and acts as a transactivator of Enhancer of Split (HES in mammals) gene expression. In this report we show that the Notch 3 intracellular domain (IC), in contrast to all other analysed Notch ICs, is a poor activator, and in fact acts as a repressor by blocking the ability of the Notch 1 IC to activate expression through the HES-1 and HES-5 promoters. We present a model in which Notch 3 IC interferes with Notch 1 IC-mediated activation at two levels. First, Notch 3 IC competes with Notch 1 IC for access to RBP-Jk and does not activate transcription when positioned close to a promoter. Second, Notch 3 IC appears to compete with Notch 1 IC for a common coactivator present in limiting amounts. In conclusion, this is the first example of a Notch IC that functions as a repressor in Enhancer of Split/HES upregulation, and shows that mammalian Notch receptors have acquired distinct functions during evolution.