Notch-dependent CSL transcription complexes control essential biological processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, and cell-fate decisions in diverse developmental systems. The orthologous proteins CBF1/Rbpj (mammalian), Su(H) (Drosophila), and Lag-1 (Caenorhabditis elegans) compose the CSL family of sequence-specific DNA-binding transcription factors. The CSL proteins are best known for their role in canonical Notch signaling. However, CSL factors also form transcription complexes that can function independent of Notch signaling and include repression and activation of target gene transcription. Because the different complexes share CSL as a DNA-binding subunit, they can control overlapping sets of genes; but they can also control distinct sets when partnered with tissue-specific cofactors that restrict DNA-sequence recognition or stability of the DNA-bound complex. The Notch-independent functions of CSL and the processes they regulate will be reviewed here with a particular emphasis on the tissue-specific CSL-activator complex with the bHLH factor Ptf1a.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.