NACK and INTEGRATOR act coordinately to activate Notch-mediated transcription in tumorigenesis

Elena Shersher, Mohini Lahiry, Annamil Alvarez-Trotta, Giulia Diluvio, David J. Robbins, Ramin Shiekhattar, Anthony J. Capobianco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Notch signaling drives many aspects of neoplastic phenotype. Here, we report that the Integrator complex (INT) is a new component of the Notch transcriptional supercomplex. Together with Notch Activation Complex Kinase (NACK), INT activates Notch1 target genes by driving RNA polymerase II (RNAPII)-dependent transcription, leading to tumorigenesis. Methods: Size exclusion chromatography and CBF-1/RBPJ/Suppressor of Hairless/Lag-1 (CSL)-DNA affinity fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) was used to purify Notch/CSL-dependent complexes for liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analysis. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) were performed to investigate transcriptional regulation of Notch target genes. Transfection of Notch Ternary Complex components into HEK293T cells was used as a recapitulation assay to study Notch-mediated transcriptional mechanisms. Gene knockdown was achieved via RNA interference and the effects of protein depletion on esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC) proliferation were determined via a colony formation assay and murine xenografts. Western blotting was used to examine expression of INT subunits in EAC cells and evaluate apoptotic proteins upon INT subunit 11 knockdown (INTS11 KD). Gene KD effects were further explored via flow cytometry. Results: We identified the INT complex as part of the Notch transcriptional supercomplex. INT, together with NACK, activates Notch-mediated transcription. While NACK is required for the recruitment of RNAPII to a Notch-dependent promoter, the INT complex is essential for RNAPII phosphorylated at serine 5 (RNAPII-S5P), leading to transcriptional activation. Furthermore, INT subunits are overexpressed in EAC cells and INTS11 KD results in G2/M cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and cell growth arrest in EAC. Conclusions: This study identifies the INT complex as a novel co-factor in Notch-mediated transcription that together with NACK activates Notch target genes and leads to cancer cell proliferation. [Figure not available: see fulltext.] [MediaObject not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number96
JournalCell Communication and Signaling
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Esophageal adenocarcinoma
  • Integrator
  • NACK
  • Notch signaling
  • SGK223
  • Transcriptional activation
  • Tumorigenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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