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Dev Biol. 2009 Aug 1;332(1):166-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.05.566. Epub 2009 May 27.

Notch signaling is required for lateral induction of Jagged1 during FGF-induced lens fiber differentiation.

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Laboratory of Molecular and Developmental Biology, National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Previous studies of the developing lens have shown that Notch signaling regulates differentiation of lens fiber cells by maintaining a proliferating precursor pool in the anterior epithelium. However, whether Notch signaling is further required after the onset of fiber cell differentiation is not clear. This work investigates the role of Notch2 and Jagged1 (Jag1) in secondary fiber cell differentiation using rat lens epithelial explants undergoing FGF-2 dependent differentiation in vitro. FGF induced Jag1 expression and Notch2 signaling (as judged by the appearance of activated Notch2 Intracellular Domain (N2ICD)) within 12-24 h. These changes were correlated with induction of the Notch effector, Hes5, upregulation of N-cadherin (N-cad), and downregulation of E-cadherin (E-cad), a cadherin switch characteristic of fiber cell differentiation. Induction of Jag1 was efficiently blocked by U0126, a specific inhibitor of MAPK/ERK signaling, indicating a requirement for signaling through this pathway downstream of the FGF receptor. Other growth factors that activate MAPK/ERK signaling (EGF, PDGF, IGF) did not induce Jag1. Inhibition of Notch signaling using gamma secretase inhibitors DAPT and L-685,458 or anti-Jag1 antibody markedly decreased FGF-dependent expression of Jag1 demonstrating Notch-dependent lateral induction. In addition, inhibition of Notch signaling reduced expression of N-cad, and the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor, p57Kip2, indicating a direct role for Notch signaling in secondary fiber cell differentiation. These results demonstrate that Notch-mediated lateral induction of Jag1 is an essential component of FGF-dependent lens fiber cell differentiation.

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