Characterization of tissue specific expression of Notch-1 in human tissues

Biol Cell. 2004 May;96(4):303-11. doi: 10.1016/j.biolcel.2004.01.005.


Signaling through the Notch cell surface receptors is a highly conserved mechanism of cell fate specification. Notch signaling regulates proliferation, differentiation and cell death. In vertebrates, putative gene duplication has originated four Notch genes, Notch-1, -2, -3 and -4. They have been implicated in neurogenesis, hematopoiesis, T-cell development, vasculogenesis and brain cortical growth. We have investigated Notch-1 distribution in normal human tissues by immunohistochemistry and immunoblot. We detected widespread expression of Notch-1 cytoplasmatic staining, with different tissue distributions in the different organs examined. In particular, high expression of Notch-1 was detected in the intermediate suprabasal layers, but not in the dead cells at the extreme periphery of stratified epithelia. Moreover, a low/intermediate level of Notch-1 was observed in lymphocytes in several peripheral lymphoid tissues; in particular the germinal centers of lymph nodes showed the most abundant number of positive cells, which appeared to be centroblasts/immunoblasts based on nuclear morphology. Notch-1 participates in keratinocytes differentiation. We showed by Western blot analysis that Notch-1 level was clearly increased in HaCaT cells after Ca(++) addition and remained substantially elevated until late differentiation stages. These results suggest that Notch-1 may function in numerous cell types in processes beyond cell fate determination, such as neuronal plasticity, muscle hypertrophy, liver regeneration, and germinal center lymphopoiesis during the immune response.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism*
  • Lymphoid Tissue / cytology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / metabolism
  • Male
  • Organ Specificity
  • Receptor, Notch1
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • NOTCH1 protein, human
  • Receptor, Notch1
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Transcription Factors