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Development. 2013 May;140(9):2039-49. doi: 10.1242/dev.087916.

An extracellular region of Serrate is essential for ligand-induced cis-inhibition of Notch signaling.

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Trinity College, Department of Biology, 300 Summit Street, Hartford, CT 06106, USA.


Cell-to-cell communication via the Notch pathway is mediated between the membrane-bound Notch receptor and either of its canonical membrane-bound ligands Delta or Serrate. Notch ligands mediate receptor transactivation between cells and also mediate receptor cis-inhibition when Notch and ligand are co-expressed on the same cell. We demonstrate in Drosophila that removal of any of the EGF-like repeats (ELRs) 4, 5 or 6 results in a Serrate molecule capable of transactivating Notch but exhibiting little or no Notch cis-inhibition capacity. These forms of Serrate require Epsin (Liquid facets) to transduce a signal, suggesting that ELR 4-6-deficient ligands still require endocytosis for Notch activation. We also demonstrate that ELRs 4-6 are responsible for the dominant-negative effects of Serrate ligand forms that lack the intracellular domain and are therefore incapable of endocytosis in the ligand-expressing cell. We find that ELRs 4-6 of Serrate are conserved across species but do not appear to be conserved in Delta homologs.

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