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Genes Dev. 1996 Aug 1;10(15):1930-44.

Frequent provirus insertional mutagenesis of Notch1 in thymomas of MMTVD/myc transgenic mice suggests a collaboration of c-myc and Notch1 for oncogenesis.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Clinical Research Institute of Montréal, Québec, Canada.


The MMTVD/myc transgenic mice spontaneously develop oligoclonal CD4+CD8+ T-cell tumors. We used provirus insertional mutagenesis in these mice to identify putative collaborators of c-myc. We found that Notch1 was mutated in a high proportion (52%) of these tumors. Proviruses were inserted upstream of the exon coding for the transmembrane domain and in both transcriptional orientations. These mutations led to high expression of truncated Notch1 RNAs and proteins (86-110 kD). In addition, many Notch1-rearranged tumors showed elevated levels of full-length Notch1 transcripts, whereas nearly all showed increased levels of full-length (330-kD) or close to full-length (280-kD) Notch1 proteins. The 5' end of the truncated RNAs were determined for some tumors by use of RT-PCR and 5' RACE techniques. Depending on the orientation of the proviruses, viral LTR or cryptic promoters appeared to be utilized, and coding potential began in most cases in the transmembrane domain. Pulse-chase experiments revealed that the 330-kD Notch1 proteins were processed into 110- and 280-kD cleavage products. These results suggest that Notch1 can be a frequent collaborator of c-myc for oncogenesis. Furthermore, our data indicate that Notch1 alleles mutated by provirus insertion can lead to increased expression of truncated and full-length (330/280-kD) Notch1 proteins, both being produced in a cleaved and uncleaved form.

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