Christine R Norton

Maine Medical Center, Portland, Maine, United States

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Publications (18)79.6 Total impact

  • Luke T Krebs · Christine R Norton · Thomas Gridley
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    ABSTRACT: The ductus arteriosus is an arterial vessel that shunts blood flow away from the lungs during fetal life, but normally occludes after birth to establish the adult circulation pattern. Failure of the ductus arteriosus to close after birth is termed patent ductus arteriosus, and is one of the most common congenital heart defects. Our previous work demonstrated that vascular smooth muscle cell expression of the Jag1 gene, which encodes a ligand for Notch family receptors, is essential for postnatal closure of the ductus arteriosus in mice. However, it was not known what cell population was responsible for receiving the Jag1-mediated signal. Here we show, using smooth muscle cell-specific deletion of the Rbpj gene, which encodes a transcription factor that mediates all canonical Notch signaling, that Notch signal reception in the vascular smooth muscle cell compartment is required for ductus arteriosus closure. These data indicate that homotypic vascular smooth muscle cell interactions are required for proper contractile smooth muscle cell differentiation and postnatal closure of the ductus arteriosus in mice. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · genesis
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    ABSTRACT: Objective: Bone morphogenetic protein-9 (BMP9)/activin-like kinase-1 and delta-like 4 (DLL4)/Notch promote endothelial quiescence, and we aim to understand mechanistic interactions between the 2 pathways. We identify new targets that contribute to endothelial quiescence and test whether loss of Dll4(+/-) in adult vasculature alters BMP signaling. Approach and results: Human endothelial cells respond synergistically to BMP9 and DLL4 stimulation, showing complete quiescence and induction of HEY1 and HEY2. Canonical BMP9 signaling via activin-like kinase-1-Smad1/5/9 was disrupted by inhibition of Notch signaling, even in the absence of exogenous DLL4. Similarly, DLL4 activity was suppressed when the basal activin-like kinase-1-Smad1/5/9 pathway was inhibited, showing that these pathways are interdependent. BMP9/DLL4 required induction of P27(KIP1) for quiescence, although multiple factors are involved. To understand these mechanisms, we used proteomics data to identify upregulation of thrombospondin-1, which contributes to the quiescence phenotype. To test whether Dll4 regulates BMP/Smad pathways and endothelial cell phenotype in vivo, we characterized the vasculature of Dll4(+/-) mice, analyzing endothelial cells in the lung, heart, and aorta. Together with changes in endothelial structure and vascular morphogenesis, we found that loss of Dll4 was associated with a significant upregulation of pSmad1/5/9 signaling in lung endothelial cells. Because steady-state endothelial cell proliferation rates were not different in the Dll4(+/-) mice, we propose that the upregulation of pSmad1/5/9 signaling compensates to maintain endothelial cell quiescence in these mice. Conclusions: DLL4/Notch and BMP9/activin-like kinase-1 signaling rely on each other's pathways for full activity. This represents an important mechanism of cross talk that enhances endothelial quiescence and sensitively coordinates cellular responsiveness to soluble and cell-tethered ligands.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The Snail gene family encodes DNA-binding zinc finger proteins that function as transcriptional repressors. While the Snai1 and Snai2 genes are required for normal development in mice, Snai3 mutant mice exhibit no obvious abnormalities. The Snai3 gene is expressed at high levels in skeletal muscle. However, we demonstrate by histological analysis that Snai3 null mutant mice exhibit normal skeletal muscle. During hindlimb muscle regeneration after cardiotoxin-mediated injury, the Snai3 null mice exhibited efficient regeneration. To determine whether the Snai3 gene functions redundantly with the Snai1 gene during skeletal muscle regeneration, we performed hindlimb muscle regeneration in mice with skeletal muscle-specific deletion of the Snai1 gene on a Snai3 null genetic background. These mice also exhibited efficient regeneration, demonstrating that there is no major role for the Snai1 and Snai3 genes in regulating skeletal muscle regeneration in mice.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · PLoS Currents
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    ABSTRACT: The Snail gene family encodes zinc finger-containing transcriptional repressor proteins. Three members of the Snail gene family have been described in mammals, encoded by the Snai1, Snai2, and Snai3 genes. The function of the Snai1 and Snai2 genes have been studied extensively during both vertebrate embryogenesis and tumor progression and metastasis, and play critically important roles during these processes. However, little is known about the function of the Snai3 gene and protein. We describe here generation and analysis of Snai3 conditional and null mutant mice. We also generated an EYFP-tagged Snai3 null allele that accurately reflects endogenous Snai3 gene expression, with the highest levels of expression detected in thymus and skeletal muscle. Snai3 null mutant homozygous mice are viable and fertile, and exhibit no obvious phenotypic defects. These results demonstrate that Snai3 gene function is not essential for embryogenesis in mice.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: The Notch-regulated ankyrin repeat protein (Nrarp) is a component of a negative feedback system that attenuates Notch pathway-mediated signaling. In vertebrates, the timing and spacing of formation of the mesodermal somites are controlled by a molecular oscillator termed the segmentation clock. Somites are also patterned along the rostral-caudal axis of the embryo. Here, we demonstrate that Nrarp-deficient embryos and mice exhibit genetic background-dependent defects of the axial skeleton. While progression of the segmentation clock occurred in Nrarp-deficient embryos, they exhibited altered rostrocaudal patterning of the somites. In Nrarp mutant embryos, the posterior somite compartment was expanded. These studies confirm an anticipated, but previously undocumented role for the Nrarp gene in vertebrate somite patterning and provide an example of the strong influence that genetic background plays on the phenotypes exhibited by mutant mice.
    Preview · Article · Apr 2012 · genesis
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    Jingxia Xu · Christine R Norton · Thomas Gridley

    Preview · Article · Mar 2006 · Development
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    ABSTRACT: The Notch signaling pathway is an evolutionarily conserved signaling mechanism and mutations in its components disrupt cell fate specification and embryonic development in many organisms. To analyze the in vivo role of the Notch3 gene in mice, we created a deletion allele by gene targeting. Embryos homozygous for this mutation developed normally and homozygous mutant adults were viable and fertile. We also examined whether we could detect genetic interactions during early embryogenesis between the Notch3 mutation and a targeted mutation of the Notch1 gene. Double homozygous mutant embryos exhibited defects normally observed in Notch1-deficient embryos, but we detected no obvious synergistic effects in the double mutants. These data demonstrate that the Notch3 gene is not essential for embryonic development or fertility in mice, and does not have a redundant function with the Notch1 gene during early embryogenesis.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2003 · genesis
  • Nian Zhang · Christine R Norton · Thomas Gridley
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    ABSTRACT: The Notch signaling pathway is important in regulating formation and anterior-posterior patterning of somites in vertebrate embryos. Here we show that distinct segmentation defects are displayed in embryos mutant for the Notch pathway genes Notch1, Lunatic fringe (Lfng), Delta-like 1 (Dll1), and Delta-like 3 (Dll3). Lfng-deficient mice and Dll3-deficient mice exhibit very similar defects, and marker analysis suggests that progression of the segmentation clock is disrupted in Dll3 mutants. We also show that Radical fringe (Rfng)-deficient mice exhibit no obvious phenotypic defects. To assess whether the absence of a phenotype in Rfng-deficient mice was the result of functional redundancy with the Lfng gene, we generated Lfng/Rfng double homozygous mutant mice. These mice exhibit the skeletal defects normally observed in Lfng-deficient mice, but we detected no obvious synergistic or additive effects in the double mutant animals.
    No preview · Article · May 2002 · genesis
  • RJ Lanford · R Shailam · CR Norton · T Gridley · MW Kelley
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    ABSTRACT: The sensory epithelium within the mammalian cochlea (the organ of Corti) is a strictly ordered cellular array consisting of sensory hair cells and nonsensory supporting cells. Previous research has demonstrated that Notch-mediated lateral inhibition plays a key role in the determination of cell types within this array. Specifically genetic deletion of the Notch ligand, Jagged2, results in a significant increase in the number of hair cells that develop within the sensory epithelium, presumably as a result of a decrease in Notch activation. In contrast, the downstream mediators and targets of the Notch pathway in the inner ear have not been determined but they may include genes encoding the proneural gene Math1 as well as the HES family of inhibitory bHLH proteins. To determine die potential roles of these genes in cochlear development, in situ hybridization for Math1 and HES5 was performed on the cochleae of wildtype vs. Jagged2 mutants (Jag2(Delta DSL)). Results in wild-type cochleae show that expression of Math1 transcripts in the duct begins on E13 and ultimately becomes restricted to hair cells in the sensory epithelium. In contrast, expression of HES5 begins on E15 and becomes restricted to supporting cells in the epithelium. Results in Jag2 mutant cochleae suggest that Math1 transcripts are ultimately maintained in a larger number of cells as compared with wildtype, while transcripts for HES5 are dramatically reduced throughout the epithelium. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that activation of Notch via Jagged2 acts to inhibit expression of Math1 in cochlear progenitor cells, possibly through the activity of HES5.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2000 · Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
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    ABSTRACT: The Notch gene family encodes large transmembrane receptors that are components of an evolutionarily conserved intercellular signaling mechanism. To assess the role of the Notch4 gene, we generated Notch4-deficient mice by gene targeting. Embryos homozygous for this mutation developed normally, and homozygous mutant adults were viable and fertile. However, the Notch4 mutation displayed genetic interactions with a targeted mutation of the related Notch1 gene. Embryos homozygous for mutations of both the Notch4 and Notch1 genes often displayed a more severe phenotype than Notch1 homozygous mutant embryos. Both Notch1 mutant and Notch1/Notch4 double mutant embryos displayed severe defects in angiogenic vascular remodeling. Analysis of the expression patterns of genes encoding ligands for Notch family receptors indicated that only the Dll4 gene is expressed in a pattern consistent with that expected for a gene encoding a ligand for the Notch1 and Notch4 receptors in the early embryonic vasculature. These results reveal an essential role for the Notch signaling pathway in regulating embryonic vascular morphogenesis and remodeling, and indicate that whereas the Notch4 gene is not essential during embryonic development, the Notch4 and Notch1 genes have partially overlapping roles during embryogenesis in mice.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2000 · Genes & Development
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    ABSTRACT: The sensory epithelium within the mammalian cochlea (the organ of Corti) is a strictly ordered cellular array consisting of sensory hair cells and nonsensory supporting cells. Previous research has demonstrated that Notch-mediated lateral inhibition plays a key role in the determination of cell types within this array. Specifically, genetic deletion of the Notch ligand, Jagged2, results in a significant increase in the number of hair cells that develop within the sensory epithelium, presumably as a result of a decrease in Notch activation. In contrast, the downstream mediators and targets of the Notch pathway in the inner ear have not been determined but they may include genes encoding the proneural gene Math1 as well as the HES family of inhibitory bHLH proteins. To determine the potential roles of these genes in cochlear development, in situ hybridization for Math1 and HES5 was performed on the cochleae of wildtype vs. Jagged2 mutants (Jag2 ΔDSL ). Results in wild-type cochleae show that expression of Math1 transcripts in the duct begins on E13 and ultimately becomes restricted to hair cells in the sensory epithelium. In contrast, expression of HES5 begins on E15 and becomes restricted to supporting cells in the epithelium. Results in Jag2 mutant cochleae suggest that Math1 transcripts are ultimately maintained in a larger number of cells as compared with wildtype, while transcripts for HES5 are dramatically reduced throughout the epithelium. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that activation of Notch via Jagged2 acts to inhibit expression of Math1 in cochlear progenitor cells, possibly through the activity of HES5.
    Full-text · Article · May 2000 · Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology
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    ABSTRACT: One of the most striking aspects of all auditory and vestibular sensory epithelia is the mosaic pattern of hair cells and supporting cells. The factors that are required for the development of this mosaic have not been determined, however the results of recent studies have demonstrated that components of the neurogenic (Notch) signaling pathway are expressed in the developing inner ears of a number of different vertebrate species. To examine whether this signaling pathway may play a similar role in the development of the hair cell mosaic in the mammalian vestibular system, the expression patterns of proneural (Math1) and neurogenic (Notch1, Jagged2, HES5) genes were examined in the developing mouse inner ear. Results indicate that Notch1 is initially expressed throughout the developing inner ear and becomes restricted to non-sensory cells within the developing sensory epithelia. In contrast, initial expression of Math1 and Jagged2 is localized to the developing sensory epithelia and ultimately becomes restricted to hair cells. Interestingly, transcripts for HES5, a target of Notch activation, are expressed in the developing cristae but not in the saccule or utricle. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that formation of the hair cell mosaic is regulated through the neurogenic pathway. However the differential expression of HES5 within the ear indicates that the downstream targets of Notch1 activation are not consistent across all of the sensory epithelia and suggests that the effects of activation of Notch1 in the saccule and utricle must be regulated through alternate target genes.
    No preview · Article · Sep 1999 · Journal of Neurocytology
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    ABSTRACT: The Notch signaling pathway is an evolutionarily conserved intercellular signaling mechanism essential for embryonic development in mammals. Mutations in the human JAGGED1 (JAG1) gene, which encodes a ligand for the Notch family of transmembrane receptors, cause the autosomal dominant disorder Alagille syndrome. We have examined the in vivo role of the mouse Jag1 gene by creating a null allele through gene targeting. Mice homozygous for the Jag1 mutation die from hemorrhage early during embryogenesis, exhibiting defects in remodeling of the embryonic and yolk sac vasculature. We mapped the Jag1 gene to mouse chromosome 2, in the vicinity of the Coloboma (Cm) deletion. Molecular and complementation analyses revealed that the Jag1 gene is functionally deleted in the Cm mutant allele. Mice heterozygous for the Jag1 null allele exhibit an eye dysmorphology similar to that of Cm/+ heterozygotes, but do not exhibit other phenotypes characteristic of Cm/+ mice or of humans with Alagille syndrome. These results establish the phenotype of Cm/+ mice as a contiguous gene deletion syndrome and demonstrate that Jag1 is essential for remodeling of the embryonic vasculature.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 1999 · Human Molecular Genetics
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    ABSTRACT: In aging men, the prostate gland becomes hyperproliferative and displays a propensity toward carcinoma. Although this hyperproliferative process has been proposed to represent an inappropriate reactivation of an embryonic differentiation program, the regulatory genes responsible for normal prostate development and function are largely undefined. Here we show that the murine Nkx3.1 homeobox gene is the earliest known marker of prostate epithelium during embryogenesis and is subsequently expressed at all stages of prostate differentiation in vivo as well as in tissue recombinants. A null mutation for Nkx3.1 obtained by targeted gene disruption results in defects in prostate ductal morphogenesis and secretory protein production. Notably, Nkx3.1 mutant mice display prostatic epithelial hyperplasia and dysplasia that increases in severity with age. This epithelial hyperplasia and dysplasia also occurs in heterozygous mice, indicating haploinsufficiency for this phenotype. Because human NKX3.1 is known to map to a prostate cancer hot spot, we propose that NKX3.1 is a prostate-specific tumor suppressor gene and that loss of a single allele may predispose to prostate carcinogenesis. The Nkx3.1 mutant mice provide a unique animal model for examining the relationship between normal prostate differentiation and early stages of prostate carcinogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · May 1999 · Genes & Development
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    ABSTRACT: The Slug gene encodes a zinc finger protein implicated in the generation and migration of neural crest cells in several vertebrate species. Here we describe the genomic organization and chromosomal localization of the mouse Slug (Slugh) gene. The mouse Slug gene consists of three exons spanning approx. 4 kb. Northern blot analysis of RNA isolated from several tissues of adult mice revealed the presence of a single 2.1 kb transcript. The chromosomal location of mouse Slug was determined by interspecific backcross analysis. The mapping results indicated that Slugh is located in the proximal region of mouse chromosome 16.
    No preview · Article · Dec 1998 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta
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    ABSTRACT: The Slug gene encodes a zinc finger protein implicated in the generation and migration of neural crest cells in several vertebrate species. Here we describe the genomic organization and chromosomal localization of the mouse Slug (Slugh) gene. The mouse Slug gene consists of three exons spanning approx. 4 kb. Northern blot analysis of RNA isolated from several tissues of adult mice revealed the presence of a single 2.1 kb transcript. The chromosomal location of mouse Slug was determined by interspecific backcross analysis. The mapping results indicated that Slugh is located in the proximal region of mouse chromosome 16.
    No preview · Article · Nov 1998 · Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Gene Structure and Expression
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    Rulang Jiang · Yu Lan · Christine R. Norton · John P. Sundberg · Thomas Gridley
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    ABSTRACT: The Slug gene encodes a zinc finger protein, homologous to the product of the Drosophila Snail gene, that is implicated in the generation and migration of both mesoderm and neural crest cells in several vertebrate species. We describe here the cloning and genetic analysis of the mouse Slug (Slugh) gene. Slugh encodes a 269-amino-acid protein the shares 92% amino acid identity with the product of the chicken Slug gene. We have characterized Slugh gene expression during early mouse embryogenesis by whole mount in situ hybridization of Slugh mRNA and through detection of beta-galactosidase expression from an in-frame SlughIacZ allele generated through homologous recombination. Slugh expression is first detected in extraembryonic mesoderm and is later detected in many mesodermal subsets, although it is not detected in the primitive streak. In contrast to many other vertebrates, the mouse Slug gene is not expressed in premigratory neural crest cells but is expressed in migratory neural crest cells. Analysis of a targeted null mutation that deleted all Slugh coding sequences revealed that Slugh is not required for mesoderm formation or for neural crest generation, migration, or development in mice. These results indicate that neither the expression pattern nor the biological function of the Slug gene is conserved among all vertebrates. These data also raise interesting questions about the regulation of neural crest generation, which is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the vertebrate subphylum.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 1998 · Developmental Biology
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    ABSTRACT: The Notch signaling pathway is a conserved intercellular signaling mechanism that is essential for proper embryonic development in numerous metazoan organisms. We have examined the in vivo role of the Jagged2 (Jag2) gene, which encodes a ligand for the Notch family of transmembrane receptors, by making a targeted mutation that removes a domain of the Jagged2 protein required for receptor interaction. Mice homozygous for this deletion die perinatally because of defects in craniofacial morphogenesis. The mutant homozygotes exhibit cleft palate and fusion of the tongue with the palatal shelves. The mutant mice also exhibit syndactyly (digit fusions) of the fore- and hindlimbs. The apical ectodermal ridge (AER) of the limb buds of the mutant homozygotes is hyperplastic, and we observe an expanded domain of Fgf8 expression in the AER. In the foot plates of the mutant homozygotes, both Bmp2 and Bmp7 expression and apoptotic interdigital cell death are reduced. Mutant homozygotes also display defects in thymic development, exhibiting altered thymic morphology and impaired differentiation of gamma delta lineage T cells. These results demonstrate that Notch signaling mediated by Jag2 plays an essential role during limb, craniofacial, and thymic development in mice.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 1998 · Genes & Development

Publication Stats

2k Citations
79.60 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Maine Medical Center
      Portland, Maine, United States
  • 2013
    • Maine Medical Center Research Institute
      Scarborough, Maine, United States
  • 2012
    • University of Maine
      Orono, Minnesota, United States
  • 1998-2003
    • The Jackson Laboratory
      BHB, Maine, United States