We have identified a gene encoding a novel protein that is transcriptionally regulated by the Notch signaling pathway in mammals. This gene, named Nrarp (for Notch-regulated ankyrin-repeat protein), encodes a 114 amino acid protein that has a unique amino-terminus and a carboxy-terminal domain containing two ankyrin-repeat motifs. A Xenopus homolog of the Nrarp gene was previously identified in a large-scale in situ hybridization screen of randomly isolated cDNA clones. We demonstrate that in T-cell and myoblast cell lines expression of the Nrarp gene is induced by the intracellular domain of the Notch1 protein, and that this induction is mediated by a CBF1/Su(H)/Lag-1 (CSL)-dependent pathway. During mouse embryogenesis, the Nrarp gene is expressed in several tissues in which cellular differentiation is regulated by the Notch signaling pathway. Expression of the Nrarp gene is downregulated in Notch1 null mutant mouse embryos, indicating that expression of the Nrarp gene is regulated by the Notch pathway in vivo. Thus, Nrarp transcript levels are regulated by the level of Notch1 signaling in both cultured cell lines and mouse embryos. During somitogenesis, the Nrarp gene is expressed in a pattern that suggests that Nrarp expression may play a role in the formation of somites, and Nrarp expression in the paraxial mesoderm is altered in several Notch pathway mutants that exhibit defects in somite formation. These observations demonstrate that the Nrarp gene is an evolutionarily conserved transcriptional target of the Notch signaling pathway.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.