γ-Secretase cleavage of the Notch receptor transmembrane domain is a critical signaling event for various cellular processes. Efforts to develop inhibitors of γ-secretase cleavage of the amyloid-β precursor C99 protein as potential Alzheimer's disease therapeutics have been confounded by toxicity resulting from the inhibition of normal cleavage of Notch. We present biochemical and structural data for the combined transmembrane and juxtamembrane Notch domains (Notch-TMD) that illuminate Notch signaling and that can be compared and contrasted with the corresponding traits of C99. The Notch-TMD and C99 have very different conformations, adapt differently to changes in model membrane hydrophobic span, and exhibit different cholesterol-binding properties. These differences may be exploited in the design of agents that inhibit cleavage of C99 while allowing Notch cleavage.