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Mol Cell Biol. 2011 Apr;31(7):1396-408. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00360-10. Epub 2011 Jan 18.

Assembly of a Notch transcriptional activation complex requires multimerization.

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  • 1Molecular Oncology Program, Division of Surgical Oncology, Dewitt Daughtry Family of Surgery and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, 1600 NW 10th Avenue, Miami, FL 33136, USA.


Notch transmembrane receptors direct essential cellular processes, such as proliferation and differentiation, through direct cell-to-cell interactions. Inappropriate release of the intracellular domain of Notch (N(ICD)) from the plasma membrane results in the accumulation of deregulated nuclear N(ICD) that has been linked to human cancers, notably T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL). Nuclear N(ICD) forms a transcriptional activation complex by interacting with the coactivator protein Mastermind-like 1 and the DNA binding protein CSL (for CBF-1/Suppressor of Hairless/Lag-1) to regulate target gene expression. Although it is well understood that N(ICD) forms a transcriptional activation complex, little is known about how the complex is assembled. In this study, we demonstrate that N(ICD) multimerizes and that these multimers function as precursors for the stepwise assembly of the Notch activation complex. Importantly, we demonstrate that the assembly is mediated by N(ICD) multimers interacting with Skip and Mastermind. These interactions form a preactivation complex that is then resolved by CSL to form the Notch transcriptional activation complex on DNA.

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