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Curr Biol. 2010 Mar 23;20(6):538-43. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.049. Epub 2010 Mar 11.

Endocytic internalization routes required for delta/notch signaling.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-3200, USA.


The internalization of transmembrane receptors from the cell surface plays a central role in signal regulation. Receptor internalization can occur through different routes; however, because of the difficulty in selectively blocking these routes in vivo, their roles in signaling are poorly understood. Here we use null mutations in Drosophila dynamin, clathrin, and AP-2 adaptor subunits to analyze internalization requirements for the Delta ligand and its receptor, Notch. Bulk Notch is internalized via AP-2-dependent endocytosis, but signaling by Notch requires AP-2-independent clathrin-dependent endocytosis, highlighting a distinction between Notch endocytic routes required for degradation versus signaling activation. Signaling by Delta requires dynamin, but whether this generates a pulling force of Delta on Notch or allows for Delta entry into a recycling pathway to gain signaling competence is widely debated. Surprisingly, we show that signaling by Delta in germline cells can occur by clathrin-independent endocytosis, when endosomal entry is blocked, and when activity of Rab11 or its effectors is reduced, suggesting that Delta need not pass through a recognized recycling pathway to achieve signaling competence. The absolute requirement for dynamin-dependent endocytosis but not endosomal entry or Rab11 activity supports "pulling force" rather than "recycling" models for Delta activation.

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