Cancer research

Defining NOTCH3 target genes in ovarian cancer.

PMID 22396495


NOTCH3 gene amplification plays an important role in the progression of many ovarian and breast cancers, but the targets of NOTCH3 signaling are unclear. Here, we report the use of an integrated systems biology approach to identify direct target genes for NOTCH3. Transcriptome analysis showed that suppression of NOTCH signaling in ovarian and breast cancer cells led to downregulation of genes in pathways involved in cell-cycle regulation and nucleotide metabolism. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-on-chip analysis defined promoter target sequences, including a new CSL binding motif (N1) in addition to the canonical CSL binding motif, that were occupied by the NOTCH3/CSL transcription complex. Integration of transcriptome and ChIP-on-chip data showed that the ChIP target genes overlapped significantly with the NOTCH-regulated transcriptome in ovarian cancer cells. From the set of genes identified, we showed that the mitotic apparatus organizing protein DLGAP5 (HURP/DLG7) was a critical target. Both the N1 motif and the canonical CSL binding motif were essential to activate DLGAP5 transcription. DLGAP5 silencing in cancer cells suppressed tumorigenicity and inhibited cellular proliferation by arresting the cell cycle at the G(2)-M phase. In contrast, enforced expression of DLGAP5 partially counteracted the growth inhibitory effects of a pharmacologic or RNA interference-mediated NOTCH inhibition in cancer cells. Our findings define direct target genes of NOTCH3 and highlight the role of DLGAP5 in mediating the function of NOTCH3.