The Francis Crick Institute
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NOTCH activity differentially affects alternative cell fate acquisition and maintenance

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journal contribution
posted on 2020-07-15, 10:41 authored by Leonard Cheung, Paul Le Tissier, Sam Goldsmith, Mathias Treier, Robin Lovell-Badge, Karine Rizzoti
The pituitary is an essential endocrine gland regulating multiple processes. Regeneration of endocrine cells is of therapeutic interest and recent studies are promising, but mechanisms of endocrine cell fate acquisition need to be better characterised. The NOTCH pathway is important during pituitary development. Here, we further characterise its role in the murine pituitary, revealing differential sensitivity within and between lineages. In progenitors, NOTCH activation blocks cell fate acquisition, with time-dependant modulation. In differentiating cells, response to activation is blunted in the POU1F1 lineage, with apparently normal cell fate specification, while POMC cells remain sensitive. Absence of apparent defects in Pou1f1-Cre; Rbpjfl/fl mice further suggests no direct role for NOTCH signalling in POU1F1 cell fate acquisition. In contrast, in the POMC lineage, NICD expression induces a regression towards a progenitor-like state, suggesting that the NOTCH pathway specifically blocks POMC cell differentiation. These results have implications for pituitary development, plasticity and regeneration. Activation of NOTCH signalling in different cell lineages of the embryonic murine pituitary uncovers an unexpected differential sensitivity, and this consequently reveals new aspects of endocrine lineages development and plasticity.