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G3 (Bethesda). 2012 Dec;2(12):1563-75. doi: 10.1534/g3.112.003780. Epub 2012 Dec 1.

A targeted in vivo RNAi screen reveals deubiquitinases as new regulators of Notch signaling.

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Department of Cell Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


Notch signaling is highly conserved in all metazoan animals and plays critical roles in cell fate specification, cell proliferation, apoptosis, and stem cell maintenance. Although core components of the Notch signaling cascade have been identified, many gaps in the understanding of the Notch signaling pathway remain to be filled. One form of posttranslational regulation, which is controlled by the ubiquitin-proteasome system, is known to modulate Notch signaling. The ubiquitination pathway is a highly coordinated process in which the ubiquitin moiety is either conjugated to or removed from target proteins by opposing E3 ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinases (DUBs). Several E3 ubiquitin ligases have been implicated in ubiquitin conjugation to the receptors and the ligands of the Notch signaling cascade. In contrast, little is known about a direct role of DUBs in Notch signaling in vivo. Here, we report an in vivo RNA interference screen in Drosophila melanogaster targeting all 45 DUBs that we annotated in the fly genome. We show that at least four DUBs function specifically in the formation of the fly wing margin and/or the specification of the scutellar sensory organ precursors, two processes that are strictly dependent on the balanced Notch signaling activity. Furthermore, we provide genetic evidence suggesting that these DUBs are necessary to positively modulate Notch signaling activity. Our study reveals a conserved molecular mechanism by which protein deubiquitination process contributes to the complex posttranslational regulation of Notch signaling in vivo.


Drosophila melanogaster; Notch signaling; deubiquitinase; ubiquitination

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