N3ICD with the transmembrane domain can effectively inhibit EMT by correcting the position of tight/adherens junctions

EMT allows a polarized epithelium to lose epithelial integrity and acquire mesenchymal characteristics. Previously, we found that overexpression of the intracellular domain of Notch3 (N3ICD) can inhibit EMT in breast cancer cells. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the influence of N3ICD or N3ICD combined with the transmembrane domain (TD+N3ICD) on the expression and distribution of TJs/AJs and polar molecules. We found that although N3ICD can upregulate the expression levels of the above-mentioned molecules, TD+N3ICD can inhibit EMT more effectively than N3ICD alone. TD+N3ICD overexpression upregulated the expression of endogenous full-length Notch3 and contributed to correcting the position of TJs/AJs molecules and better acinar structures formation. Co-immunoprecipitation results showed that the upregulated endogenous full-length Notch3 could physically interact with E-ca in MDA-MB-231/pCMV-(TD+N3ICD) cells. Collectively, our data indicate that overexpression of TD+N3ICD can effectively inhibit EMT, resulting in better positioning of TJs/AJs molecules and cell-cell adhesion in breast cancer cells.

Abbreviations: EMT: Epithelial-mesenchymal transition; TJs: Tight junctions; AJs: Adherens junctions; aPKC: Atypical protein kinase C; Crb: Crumbs; Lgl: Lethal (2) giant larvae; LLGL2: lethal giant larvae homolog 2; PAR: Partitioning defective; PATJ: Pals1-associated TJ protein