Science (New York, N.Y.)

Structural biology. Structural basis for Notch1 engagement of Delta-like 4.

PMID 25700513


Notch receptors guide mammalian cell fate decisions by engaging the proteins Jagged and Delta-like (DLL). The 2.3 angstrom resolution crystal structure of the interacting regions of the Notch1-DLL4 complex reveals a two-site, antiparallel binding orientation assisted by Notch1 O-linked glycosylation. Notch1 epidermal growth factor-like repeats 11 and 12 interact with the DLL4 Delta/Serrate/Lag-2 (DSL) domain and module at the N-terminus of Notch ligands (MNNL) domains, respectively. Threonine and serine residues on Notch1 are functionalized with O-fucose and O-glucose, which act as surrogate amino acids by making specific, and essential, contacts to residues on DLL4. The elucidation of a direct chemical role for O-glycans in Notch1 ligand engagement demonstrates how, by relying on posttranslational modifications of their ligand binding sites, Notch proteins have linked their functional capacity to developmentally regulated biosynthetic pathways.