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Notch1 deficiency in postnatal neural progenitor cells in the dentate gyrus leads to emotional and cognitive impairment.

ABSTRACT

It is well known that Notch1 signaling plays a crucial role in embryonic neural development and adult neurogenesis. The latest evidence shows that Notch1 also plays a critical role in synaptic plasticity in hippocampal mature neurons. So far, deeper insights into the function of Notch1 signaling during the different steps of adult neurogenesis are still lacking, and the mechanisms by which Notch1 dysfunction is associated with brain disorders are also poorly understood. In the current study, we found that Notch1 was highly expressed in the adult-born immature neurons in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Using a genetic approach to selectively ablate Notch1 signaling in late immature precursors in the postnatal hippocampus by cross-breeding doublecortin (DCX)(+) neuron-specific proopiomelanocortin (POMC)-α Cre mice with floxed Notch1 mice, we demonstrated a previously unreported pivotal role of Notch1 signaling in survival and function of adult newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus. Moreover, behavioral and functional studies demonstrated that POMC-Notch1(-/-) mutant mice showed anxiety and depressive-like behavior with impaired synaptic transmission properties in the dentate gyrus. Finally, our mechanistic study showed significantly compromised phosphorylation of cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB) in Notch1 mutants, suggesting that the dysfunction of Notch1 mutants is associated with the disrupted pCREB signaling in postnatally generated immature neurons in the dentate gyrus.-Feng, S., Shi, T., Qiu, J., Yang, H., Wu, Y., Zhou, W., Wang, W., Wu, H. Notch1 deficiency in postnatal neural progenitor cells in the dentate gyrus leads to emotional and cognitive impairment.