Objective: Notch3 is critically important for the structure and myogenic response of distal arteries, particularly of cerebral arteries. However, signaling pathways acting downstream of Notch3 remain largely unknown.
Methods and results: Transcriptome analysis using tail arteries of Notch3-null mice identified a core set of 17 novel Notch3-regulated genes confirmed in tail or brain arteries. Postnatal deletion of RBP-Jκ in smooth muscle cells recapitulated the structural, functional, and molecular defects of brain arteries induced by Notch3 deficiency. Transient in vivo blockade of the Notch pathway with γ-secretase inhibitors uncovered, in addition to Notch3, 6 immediate responders, including the voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.5, which opposes to myogenic constriction of brain arteries, and the glutamate receptor-interacting protein 2 (Grip2) with no previously established role in the cerebrovasculature. We identified a vascular smooth muscle cell isoform of Grip2. We showed that Notch3-RBP-Jκ specifically regulates this isoform. Finally, we found that cerebral arteries of Grip2 mutant mice, which express an N-terminally truncated Grip2 protein, exhibited selective attenuation of pressure-induced contraction.
Conclusions: Our data provide insight into how Notch3 signals in the brain arteries, establishing the postnatal requirement of smooth muscle RBP-Jκ in this context. Notch3-regulated transcriptome provides potential for modulating myogenic response in the cerebrovasculature.