Defects in development of the kidney, heart and eye vasculature in mice homozygous for a hypomorphic Notch2 mutation.

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Development 2001 Feb; 128(4):491-502.


CA34196/CA/NCI, NS36437/NS/NINDS


The Notch gene family encodes large transmembrane receptors that are components of an evolutionarily conserved intercellular signaling mechanism. To assess the in vivo role of the Notch2 gene, we constructed a targeted mutation, Notch2(del1). Unexpectedly, we found that alternative splicing of the Notch2(del1) mutant allele leads to the production of two different in-frame transcripts that delete either one or two EGF repeats of the Notch2 protein, suggesting that this allele is a hypomorphic Notch2 mutation. Mice homozygous for the Notch2(del1) mutation died perinatally from defects in glomerular development in the kidney. Notch2(del1)/Notch2(del1 )mutant kidneys were hypoplastic and mutant glomeruli lacked a normal capillary tuft. The Notch ligand encoded by the Jag1 gene was expressed in developing glomeruli in cells adjacent to Notch2-expressing cells. We show that mice heterozygous for both the Notch2(del1) and Jag1(dDSL) mutations exhibit a glomerular defect similar to, but less severe than, that of Notch2(del1)/Notch2(del1 )homozygotes. The co-localization and genetic interaction of Jag1 and Notch2 imply that this ligand and receptor physically interact, forming part of the signal transduction pathway required for glomerular differentiation and patterning. Notch2(del1)/Notch2(del1 )homozygotes also display myocardial hypoplasia, edema and hyperplasia of cells associated with the hyaloid vasculature of the eye. These data identify novel developmental roles for Notch2 in kidney, heart and eye development.