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Development. 2011 Aug;138(16):3569-78. doi: 10.1242/dev.068361. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

Multiple O-glucosylation sites on Notch function as a buffer against temperature-dependent loss of signaling.

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  • 1Program in Developmental Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Mutations in Drosophila rumi result in a temperature-sensitive loss of Notch signaling. Rumi is a protein O-glucosyltransferase that adds glucose to EGF repeats with a C-X-S-X-P-C consensus sequence. Eighteen of the 36 EGF repeats in the Drosophila Notch receptor contain the consensus O-glucosylation motif. However, the contribution of individual O-glucose residues on Notch to the regulation of Notch signaling is not known. To address this issue, we carried out a mutational analysis of these glucosylation sites and determined their effects on Notch activity in vivo. Our results indicate that even though no single O-glucose mutation causes a significant decrease in Notch activity, all of the glucose residues on Notch contribute in additive and/or redundant fashions to maintain robust signaling, especially at higher temperatures. O-glucose motifs in and around the ligand-binding EGF repeats play a more important role than those in other EGF repeats of Notch. However, a single O-glucose mutation in EGF12 can be compensated by other O-glucose residues in neighboring EGF repeats. Moreover, timecourse cell aggregation experiments using a rumi null cell line indicate that a complete lack of Rumi does not affect Notch-Delta binding at high temperature. In addition, rumi fully suppresses the gain-of-function phenotype of a ligand-independent mutant form of Notch. Our data suggest that, at physiological levels of Notch, the combined effects of multiple O-glucose residues on this receptor allow productive S2 cleavage at high temperatures and thereby serve as a buffer against temperature-dependent loss of Notch signaling.

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