Notch signaling involves proteolytic cleavage of the transmembrane Notch receptor after binding to its transmembrane ligands, Delta or Jagged; and the resultant soluble intracellular domain of Notch stimulates a cascade of transcriptional events. The Delta1 ligand also undergoes proteolytic cleavage upon Notch binding, resulting in the production of a free intracellular domain. We demonstrate that the expression of the intracellular domain of Delta1 results in a non-proliferating senescent-like cell phenotype which is dependent on the expression of the cell cycle inhibitor, p21, and is abolished by co-expression of constitutively active Notch1. These data suggest a new intracellular role for Delta1.
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