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Title: The cell surface organisation of the Notch-1 receptor
Author: Weisshuhn, Philip Christian
ISNI:       0000 0004 5346 1863
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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The Notch receptor family plays a key role in development and disease. In cancer, Notch can act either as an oncogene or as a tumour suppressor, and possibly as a cancer stem-cell factor. Whereas most research has focused on downstream signalling events, little is known about the cell surface organisation of Notch and its ligands. The extracellular part of Notch consists mainly of 36 epidermal growth factor-like domains (EGF-domains), many of which bind calcium. Studies have shown that tandem repeats of calcium-binding EGF domains form a rigid linear arrangement; however, the lack of calcium binding in EGF6, EGF10 and EGF22 led to the hypothesis that these might be sites of flexibility. This thesis addresses the effect of these domains on the organisation of the extracellular region of Notch and provides further insight into the calcium-binding properties of Notch. NMR residual dipolar coupling (RDC) measurements of these regions are presented, together with the X-ray crystallographic data obtained in collaboration. The crystal structure of the human Notch-1 construct EGF4-7 shows a tilt angle of 90° at the EGF5-6 interface which is much larger than the tilt angles of 10-20° observed for the EGF11-13 crystal structure. RDC measurements demonstrated an angle of ~70° in solution. The crystal structures of EGF21-23 and EGF20-23 showed a rod-shaped interface for the EGF21-22 domain, in which a cis-proline forms the packing interaction to a tyrosine at the β-turn in the major β-sheet of EGF22. These two interfaces are novel and demonstrate the possibility of interface formation without Ca2+. Crystallisation was unsuccessful for the EGF8-11 construct. However, RDC measurements indicate interdomain motion between EGF9 and EGF10 demonstrating a flexible interface. These data establish new information on the structural organisation and calcium-binding properties of the extracellular region of Notch and identify flexible and rigid interfaces within multiple tandem repeats of EGF domains. This information will be invaluable in constructing models of Notch-ligand complexes for testing in future functional experiments.
Supervisor: Handford, P. A.; Redfield, C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biochemistry ; Notch-1 ; Ca2+ binding ; x-ray crystallography