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Nature. 2002 Dec 12;420(6916):686-90.

Endocytosis-mediated downregulation of LIN-12/Notch upon Ras activation in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Genetics and Development, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032, USA.


The coordination of signals from different pathways is important for cell fate specification during animal development. Here, we define a novel mode of crosstalk between the epidermal growth factor receptor/Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade and the LIN-12/Notch pathway during Caenorhabditis elegans vulval development. Six vulval precursor cells (VPCs) are initially equivalent but adopt different fates as a result of an inductive signal mediated by the Ras pathway and a lateral signal mediated by the LIN-12/Notch pathway. One consequence of activating Ras is a reduction of LIN-12 protein in P6.p (ref. 2), the VPC believed to be the source of the lateral signal. Here we identify a 'downregulation targeting signal' (DTS) in the LIN-12 intracellular domain, which encompasses a di-leucine-containing endocytic sorting motif. The DTS seems to be required for internalization of LIN-12, and on Ras activation it might mediate altered endocytic routing of LIN-12, leading to downregulation. We also show that if LIN-12 is stabilized in P6.p, lateral signalling is compromised, indicating that LIN-12 downregulation is important in the appropriate specification of cell fates in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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