Functional redundancy of the Notch gene family during mouse embryogenesis: analysis of Notch gene expression in Notch3-deficient mice

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Jun 17;331(4):1154-62. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.03.241.


The Notch3 gene, a member of the Notch gene family, is expressed in a wide variety of tissues during development. We generated and analyzed Notch3-deficient mice to assess the in vivo role of the Notch3 gene. Consistent with previous observation of Krebs et al. [Characterization of Notch3-deficient mice: normal embryonic development and absence of genetic interactions with a Notch1 mutation, Genesis 37 (3) (2003) 139-143], the Notch3-/- mice were viable, fertile, and developed normally despite abundant expression of Notch3 in various embryonic tissues. We examined the details of Notch1, 2, and 4 expressions in the Notch3-/- embryos compared with those in wild-type embryos. As a result, we found that a deficiency in Notch3 did not affect the expression of Notch1, 2, and 4, and that either Notch1 or Notch2, or sometimes both, was always expressed in all Notch3-expressing tissues examined. These results support the idea that other Notch genes functionally compensate for Notch3 during embryonic development. We also surveyed the adult tissues of Notch3-/- mice and found significantly fewer thymocytes in 10-week-old mice. Therefore, the thymus might be a target tissue affected by Notch3 deficiency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / physiology*
  • Receptor, Notch3
  • Receptor, Notch4
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Thymus Gland / embryology
  • Thymus Gland / metabolism


  • DNA Primers
  • Notch3 protein, mouse
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Receptor, Notch3
  • Receptor, Notch4
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Notch4 protein, mouse