Notch3 Is Dispensable for Thymocyte β-Selection and Notch1-Induced T Cell Leukemogenesis

Program in Stem Cell and Developmental Biology, Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 09/2011; 6(9):e24937. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024937
Source: PubMed


Notch1 (N1) signaling induced by intrathymic Delta-like (DL) ligands is required for T cell lineage commitment as well as self-renewal during "β-selection" of TCRβ⁺CD4⁻CD8⁻ double negative 3 (DN3) T cell progenitors. However, over-expression of the N1 intracellular domain (ICN1) renders N1 activation ligand-independent and drives leukemic transformation during β-selection. DN3 progenitors also express Notch3 (N3) mRNA, and over-expression of ligand-independent mutant N3 (ICN3) influences β-selection and drives T cell leukemogenesis. However, the importance of ligand-activated N3 in promoting β-selection and ICN1-induced T cell leukemogenesis has not been examined. To address these questions we generated mice lacking functional N3. We confirmed that DN3 progenitors express N3 protein using a N3-specific antibody. Surprisingly however, N3-deficient DN3 thymocytes were not defective in generating DP thymocytes under steady state conditions or in more stringent competition assays. To determine if N3 co-operates with N1 to regulate β-selection, we generated N1;N3 compound mutants. However, N3 deficiency did not exacerbate the competitive defect of N1⁺/⁻ DN3 progenitors, demonstrating that N3 does not compensate for limiting N1 during T cell development. Finally, N3 deficiency did not attenuate T cell leukemogenesis induced by conditional expression of ICN1 in DN3 thymocytes. Importantly, we showed that in contrast to N1, N3 has a low binding affinity for DL4, the most abundant intrathymic DL ligand. Thus, despite the profound effects of ectopic ligand-independent N3 activation on T cell development and leukemogenesis, physiologically activated N3 is dispensable for both processes, likely because N3 interacts poorly with intrathymic DL4.

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Available from: Cynthia J Guidos
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    • "Importantly, one also has to consider that the additional presence of the Notch3 receptor in these cells may alter the balance of Notch signaling activity. While Delta-Like-4 does not seem to be a good ligand for this receptor in the mouse (Suliman et al., 2011), it remains to be investigated whether Delta-Like-4 and/or Jagged2 can bind and activate Notch3 in humans. This is particularly important since Notch3 has been suggested to be a negative regulator of Notch1 activation (Beatus et al., 1999), suggesting that Notch3 activation might be another mechanism to down-modulate Notch1 activity . "
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    ABSTRACT: The development of T cells from multipotent progenitors in the thymus occurs by cascades of interactions between signaling molecules and transcription factors, resulting in the loss of alternative lineage potential and the acquisition of the T-cell functional identity. These processes require Notch signaling and the activity of GATA3, TCF1, Bcl11b, and the E-proteins HEB and E2A. We have shown that HEB factors are required to inhibit the thymic NK cell fate and that HEBAlt allows the passage of T-cell precursors from the DN to DP stage but is insufficient for suppression of the NK cell lineage choice. HEB factors are also required to enforce the death of cells that have not rearranged their TCR genes. The synergistic interactions between Notch1, HEBAlt, HEBCan, GATA3, and TCF1 are presented in a gene network model, and the influence of thymic stromal architecture on lineage choice in the thymus is discussed.
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