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Exp Cell Res. 2010 Apr 1;316(6):900-6. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2009.11.017. Epub 2009 Nov 26.

The multiple functions of Numb.

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Department of Experimental Medicine, Sapienza University, 324 viale Regina Elena, 00161 Rome, Italy.


Numb is an evolutionary conserved protein that plays critical roles in cell fate determination. Mammalian Numb displays a higher degree of structural complexity compared to the Drosophila homolog based on the number of encoding genes (Numb and Numb-like) and of alternative spliced isoforms. Accordingly, Numb proteins display a complex pattern of functions such as the control of asymmetric cell division and cell fate choice, endocytosis, cell adhesion, cell migration, ubiquitination of specific substrates and a number of signaling pathways (i.e. Notch, Hedgehog, p53). Recent findings indicate that, besides controlling such physiologic developmental processes, subversion of the above Numb-dependent events plays a critical role in disease (e.g. cancer). We will review here the multiple functions of mNumb and their underlying molecular mechanisms in development and disease.

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