Notch signaling plays a pivotal role in the regulation of vertebrate neurogenesis. However, in vitro experiments suggest that Notch1 may also be involved in the regulation of later stages of brain development. We have addressed putative roles in the central nervous system by examining the expression of Notch signaling cascade components in the postnatal mouse brain. In situ mRNA hybridization revealed that Notch1 is associated with cells in the subventricular zone, the dentate gyrus and the rostromigratory stream, all regions of continued neurogenesis in the postnatal brain. In addition, Notch1 is expressed at low levels throughout the cortex and olfactory bulb and shows striking expression in the cerebellar Purkinje cell layer. The Notch ligands, including Delta-like1 and 3 and Jagged1 and Jagged2, show distinct expression patterns in the developing and adult brain overlapping that of Notch1. In addition, the downstream targets of the Notch signaling cascade Hes1, Hes3, Hes5 and the intrinsic Notch regulatory proteins Numb and Numblike also show active signaling in distinct brain regions. Hes5 coincides with the majority of Notch1 expression and can be detected in the cerebral cortex, cerebellum and putative germinal zones. Hes3, on the other hand, shows a restricted expression in cerebellar Purkinje cells. The distribution of Notch1 and its putative ligands suggest distinct roles in specific subsets of cells in the postnatal brain including putative stem cells and differentiated neurons.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.