Background: Dysregulated Notch signalling is believed to play an important role in the development and maintenance of T cell leukaemia. At a cellular level, Notch signalling promotes proliferation and inhibits apoptosis of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (T-ALL) cells. In this study we aimed to identify novel transcriptional targets of Notch signalling in the T-ALL cell line, Jurkat.
Results: RNA was prepared from Jurkat cells retrovirally transduced with an empty vector (GFP-alone) or vectors containing constitutively active forms of Notch (N1DeltaE or N3DeltaE), and used for Affymetrix microarray analysis. A subset of genes found to be regulated by Notch was chosen for real-time PCR validation and in some cases, validation at the protein level, using several Notch-transduced T-ALL and non-T-ALL leukaemic cell lines. As expected, several known transcriptional target of Notch, such as HES1 and Deltex, were found to be overexpressed in Notch-transduced cells, however, many novel transcriptional targets of Notch signalling were identified using this approach. These included the T cell costimulatory molecule CD28, the anti-apoptotic protein GIMAP5, and inhibitor of DNA binding 1 (1D1).
Conclusion: The identification of such downstream Notch target genes provides insights into the mechanisms of Notch function in T cell leukaemia, and may help identify novel therapeutic targets in this disease.