The adaptor SASH1 acts through NOTCH1 and its inhibitor DLK1 in a 3D model of lumenogenesis involving CEACAM1

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CEACAM1 transfection into breast cancer cells restores lumen formation in a 3D culture model. Among the top up-regulated genes that were associated with restoration of lumen formation, the adaptor protein SASH1 was identified. Furthermore, SASH1 was shown to be critical for lumen formation by RNAi inhibition. Upon analyzing the gene array from CEACAM1/MCF7 cells treated with SASH1 RNAi, DLK1, an inhibitor of NOTCH1 signaling, was found to be down-regulated to the same extent as SASH1. Subsequent treatment of CEACAM1/MCF7 cells with RNAi to DLK1 also inhibited lumen formation, supporting its association with SASH1. In agreement with the role of DLK1 as a NOTCH1 inhibitor, NOTCH1, as well as its regulated genes HES1 and HEY1, were down-regulated in CEACAM1/MCF7 cells by the action of DLK1 RNAi, and up-regulated by SASH1 RNAi. When CEACAM1/MCF7 cells were treated with a γ-secretase inhibitor known to inhibit NOTCH signaling, lumen formation was inhibited. We conclude that restoration of lumen formation by CEACAM1 regulates the NOTCH1 signaling pathway via the adaptor protein SASH1 and the NOTCH1 inhibitor DLK1. These data suggest that the putative involvement of NOTCH1 as a tumor-promoting gene in breast cancer may depend on its lack of regulation in cancer, whereas its involvement in normal lumen formation requires activation of its expression, and subsequently, inhibition of its signaling.

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