The Notch signaling pathway is essential throughout development and remains active into adulthood, where it performs a critical role in tissue homeostasis. The fact that defects in signaling can lead to malignancy illustrates the need to control Notch activity tightly. GSK3β is an established regulator of the Notch signaling pathway, although its mechanism of action remains unclear. Given the emerging role for GSK3β in receptor trafficking, we tested the idea that GSK3β controls signaling by regulating Notch transport. Consistent with published reports, we find that GSK3β inhibition enhances Notch1 signaling activity. Immunolocalization analysis reveals that Notch1 localization within a tubulovesicular compartment is altered when GSK3β activity is disrupted. We also find that receptor cell surface levels increase following acute GSK3β inhibition. This is followed by elevated Notch intracellular domain (NICD) production and a corresponding increase in signaling activity. Moreover, Notch transport assays reveal that receptor recycling rates increase when GSK3β activity is inhibited. Collectively, results presented here support a model where GSK3β regulates signaling by controlling postendocytic transport of Notch1. Given that GSK3β activity is suppressed following stimulation by multiple signal transduction pathways, our findings also suggest that cells can modulate Notch1 activity in response to extracellular signals by mobilizing Notch1 from endosomal stores.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Lihsia Chen and Tom Hays for helpful discussions during the course of these studies. This work was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (Grant GM-085029 to S.D.C.).