The Notch gene family encodes transmembrane receptors with a dual capability to suppress or induce cell differentiation. This may have important consequences for tumorigenesis but the exact role of Notch genes in cancer development is not known. In September 1 Genes and Development Claudio Talora and colleagues from Harvard Medical School show that decreased expression of gene Notch1 is pivotal in the late stages of human papilloma virus-induced cervical cancer.

Talora et al. used a panel of cervical carcinoma cell lines and observed that expression of the endogenous Notch1 gene is markedly reduced whereas expression of Notch2 remains elevated. In addition, they show that down-modulation of Notch1, but not Notch2, signaling is required for sustained human papillomavirus (HPV)-E6/E7 expression and HPV-induced malignant transformation.

"The main conclusion that can be drawn from our findings is that the positive or negative role of the Notch pathway in tumor development is likely to...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?