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Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Jan;23(2):655-64.

Growth suppression of pre-T acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells by inhibition of notch signaling.

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  • 1Departments of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Department of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Constitutive NOTCH signaling in lymphoid progenitors promotes the development of immature T-cell lymphoblastic neoplasms (T-ALLs). Although it is clear that Notch signaling can initiate leukemogenesis, it has not previously been established whether continued NOTCH signaling is required to maintain T-ALL growth. We demonstrate here that the blockade of Notch signaling at two independent steps suppresses the growth and survival of NOTCH1-transformed T-ALL cells. First, inhibitors of presenilin specifically induce growth suppression and apoptosis of a murine T-ALL cell line that requires presenilin-dependent proteolysis of the Notch receptor in order for its intracellular domain to translocate to the nucleus. Second, a 62-amino-acid peptide derived from a NOTCH coactivator, Mastermind-like-1 (MAML1), forms a transcriptionally inert nuclear complex with NOTCH1 and CSL and specifically inhibits the growth of both murine and human NOTCH1-transformed T-ALLs. These studies show that continued growth and survival of NOTCH1-transformed lymphoid cell lines require nuclear access and transcriptional coactivator recruitment by NOTCH1 and identify at least two steps in the Notch signaling pathway as potential targets for chemotherapeutic intervention.

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