Insights into Notch3 activation and inhibition mediated by antibodies directed against its negative regulatory region

J Mol Biol. 2013 Sep 9;425(17):3192-204. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2013.05.025. Epub 2013 Jun 6.


Notch receptors are single-pass transmembrane proteins that regulate development and tissue homeostasis in all metazoan organisms. Prior to ligand-induced signaling, Notch receptors adopt a proteolytic resistant conformation maintained by a critical interdomain interface within a negative regulatory region (NRR), which sits immediately external to the plasma membrane. Signaling is initiated when ligand binding induces exposure of the proteolytic cleavage site, termed S2, within the NRR. Here, we use hydrogen exchange in conjunction with mass spectrometry to study the dynamics of the human Notch3 NRR in four distinct biochemical states: in its unmodified quiescent form, in a proteolytically "on" state induced by ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid, and in complex with either agonist or inhibitory antibodies. Induction of the on state by either ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid or the agonist monoclonal antibody leads to accelerated deuteration in the region of the S2 cleavage site, reflecting an increase in S2 dynamics. In contrast, complexation of the Notch3 NRR with an inhibitory antibody retards deuteration not only across its discontinuous binding epitope but also around the S2 site, stabilizing the NRR in its "off" state. Together with previous work investigating the dynamics of the Notch1 NRR, these studies show that key features of autoinhibition and activation are shared among different Notch receptors and provide additional insights into mechanisms of Notch activation and inhibition by modulatory antibodies.

Keywords: EDTA; EGF; HX-MS; LIN-12/Notch repeat; LNR; NRR; Notch signaling; TEV; autoinhibition; epidermal growth factor; ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid; hydrogen exchange–mass spectrometry; negative regulatory region; regulated intramembrane proteolysis; signal transduction; tobacco etch virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / metabolism
  • Binding Sites
  • Edetic Acid / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Receptor, Notch3
  • Receptors, Notch / genetics*
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism*
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Proteins
  • NOTCH3 protein, human
  • Receptor, Notch3
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Edetic Acid