Presenilin gene function and Notch signaling feedback regulation in the developing mouse lens

Mina Azimi, Tien T. Le, Nadean L Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Presenilins (Psen1 and Psen2 in mice) are polytopic transmembrane proteins that act in the γ-secretase complex to make intra-membrane cleavages of their substrates, including the well-studied Notch receptors. Such processing releases the Notch intracellular domain, allowing it to physically relocate from the cell membrane to the nucleus where it acts in a transcriptional activating complex to regulate downstream genes in the signal-receiving cell. Previous studies of Notch pathway mutants for Jagged1, Notch2, and Rbpj demonstrated that canonical signaling is a necessary component of normal mouse lens development. However, the central role of Psens within the γ-secretase complex has never been explored in any developing eye tissue or cell type. By directly comparing Psen single and double mutant phenotypes during mouse lens development, we found a stronger requirement for Psen1, although both genes are needed for progenitor cell growth and to prevent apoptosis. We also uncovered a novel genetic interaction between Psen1 and Jagged1. By quantifying protein and mRNA levels of key Notch pathway genes in Psen1/2 or Jagged1 mutant lenses, we identified multiple points in the overall signaling cascade where feedback regulation can occur. Our data are consistent with the loss of particular genes indirectly influencing the transcription level of another. However, we conclude that regulating Notch2 protein levels is particularly important during normal signaling, supporting the importance of post-translational regulatory mechanisms in this tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-52
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018


  • Fiber cell differentiation
  • Gamma secretase (γ-secretase)
  • Jagged1
  • Lens development
  • Notch signaling
  • Psen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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