Soluble Jagged 1 represses the function of its transmembrane form to induce the formation of the Src-dependent chord-like phenotype.
We have previously demonstrated that the expression of the soluble extracellular domain of the transmembrane ligand for Notch receptors, Jagged 1 (sJ1), in NIH 3T3 cells results in the formation of a matrix-dependent chord-like phenotype, the loss of contact inhibition of growth, and an inhibition of pro-alpha 1(I) collagen expression. In an effort to define the mechanism by which sJ1 induces this phenotype, we report that sJ1 transfectants display biochemical and cytoskeletal alterations consistent with the activation of Src. Indeed, cotransfection of sJ1 transfectants with a dominant-negative mutant of Src resulted in the loss of matrix-dependent chord formation and correlated with the restoration of type I collagen expression and contact inhibition of growth. We also report that the sJ1-mediated induction of Src activity and related phenotypes, including chord formation, may result from the inhibition of endogenous Jagged 1-mediated Notch signaling since it was not possible to detect an sJ1-dependent induction of CSL-dependent transcription in these cells. Interestingly, NIH 3T3 cells transfected with dominant-negative (but not constitutively active) mutants of either Notch 1 or Notch 2 displayed a similar Src-related phenotype as the sJ1 transfectants. These data suggest that the ability of sJ1 to mediate chord formation is Src-dependent and requires the repression of endogenous Jagged 1-mediated Notch signaling, which is tolerant to the destabilization of the actin cytoskeleton, a mediator of cell migration.