Notch1 maintains dormancy of olfactory horizontal basal cells, a reserve neural stem cell

Daniel B. Herrick, Brian Lin, Jesse Peterson, Nikolai Schnittke, James E. Schwob

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The remarkable capacity of the adult olfactory epithelium (OE) to regenerate fully both neurosensory and nonneuronal cell types after severe epithelial injury depends on life-long persistence of two stem cell populations: the horizontal basal cells (HBCs), which are quiescent and held in reserve, and mitotically active globose basal cells. It has recently been demonstrated that down-regulation of the ΔN form of the transcription factor p63 is both necessary and sufficient to release HBCs from dormancy. However, the mechanisms by which p63 is down-regulated after acute OE injury remain unknown. To identify the cellular source of potential signaling mechanisms, we assessed HBC activation after neuron-only and sustentacular cell death. We found that ablation of sustentacular cells is sufficient for HBC activation to multipotency. By expression analysis, nextgeneration sequencing, and immunohistochemical examination, down-regulation of Notch pathway signaling is coincident with HBC activation. Therefore, using HBC-specific conditional knockout of Notch receptors and overexpression of N1ICD, we show that Notch signaling maintains p63 levels and HBC dormancy, in contrast to its suppression of p63 expression in other tissues. Additionally, Notch1, but not Notch2, is required to maintain HBC dormancy after selective neuronal degeneration. Taken together, our data indicate that the activation of HBCs observed after tissue injury or sustentacular cell ablation is caused by the reduction/elimination of Notch signaling on HBCs; elimination of Jagged1 expressed by sustentacular cells may be the ligand responsible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E5589-E5598
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - Jul 11 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Notch
  • Olfactory epithelium
  • Reserve stem cell
  • Trp63

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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