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J Biol Chem. 2003 Mar 7;278(10):7751-4. Epub 2003 Jan 24.

The Notch ligands, Delta1 and Jagged2, are substrates for presenilin-dependent "gamma-secretase" cleavage.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, Pharmacology, and Physiology, The University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


The evolutionary conserved Notch signaling pathway is involved in cell fate specification and mediated by molecular interactions between the Notch receptors and the Notch ligands, Delta, Serrate, and Jagged. In this report, we demonstrate that like Notch, Delta1 and Jagged2 are subject to presenilin (PS)-dependent, intramembranous "gamma-secretase" processing, resulting in the production of soluble intracellular derivatives. Moreover, and paralleling the observation that expression of familial Alzheimer's disease-linked mutant PS1 compromises production of Notch S3/NICD, we show that the PS-dependent production of Delta1 cytoplasmic derivatives are also reduced in cells expressing mutant PS1. These studies led us to conclude that a similar molecular apparatus is responsible for intramembranous processing of Notch and it's ligands. To assess the potential role of the cytoplasmic derivative on nuclear transcriptional events, we expressed a Delta1-Gal4VP16 chimera and demonstrated marked transcriptional stimulation of a luciferase-based reporter. Our findings offer the proposal that Delta1 and Jagged2 play dual roles as activators of Notch receptor signaling and as receptors that mediate nuclear signaling events via gamma-secretase-generated cytoplasmic domains.

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