NUMB is a break of WNT-Notch signaling cycle

Masuko Katoh, Masaru Katoh
International Journal of Molecular Medicine 2006, 18 (3): 517-21
Notch, FGF and WNT signaling pathways cross-talk during embryogenesis, tissue regeneration and carcinogenesis. Notch-ligand binding to Notch receptors leads to the cleavage of Notch receptors and the following nuclear translocation of Notch intracellular domain (NICD) to induce transcriptional activation of Notch target genes. Notch signaling inhibitors, NUMB and NUMB-like (NUMBL), are docking proteins with PTB domain. We searched for the TCF/LEF-binding site within the promoter region of NUMB and NUMBL genes. Because two TCF/LEF-binding sites were identified within human NUMB promoter based on bioinformatics and human intelligence (Humint), comparative integromics analyses on NUMB orthologs were further performed. Chimpanzee NUBM gene, consisting of 13 exons, was identified within NW_115880.1 genome sequence. XM_510045.1 was not the correct coding sequence for chimpanzee NUMB. Chimpanzee NUMB gene was found to encode a 651-amino-acid protein showing 99.5, 93.9 and 82.6% total-amino-acid identity with human NUMB, mouse Numb and chicken numb, respectively. Human NUMB mRNA was expressed in placenta, ES cells, neural tissues, trachea, testis, uterus, thymus, coronary artery as well as in a variety of tumors, such as cervical cancer, tong tumor, brain tumor, colorectal and breast cancer. Although distal TCF/LEF-binding site within human NUMB promoter was conserved only among primate NUMB orthologs, proximal TCF/LEF-binding site was conserved among primate and rodent NUMB orthologs. NUMB, JAG1, FGF18, FGF20 and SPRY4 are potent targets of the canonical WNT signaling pathway in progenitor cells. NUMB inhibits Notch signaling in progenitor cells to induce differentiation, while JAG1 activates Notch signaling in stem cells to maintain self-renewal potential. Because Notch signaling inhibitor NUMB was identified as the safe apparatus for the WNT - Notch signaling cycle, epigenetic silencing, deletion and loss-of-function mutation of NUMB gene could lead to carcinogenesis through the dysregulation of the WNT - Notch signaling cycle.

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