Canonical Notch signaling is initiated when ligand binding induces proteolytic release of the intracellular part of Notch (ICN) from the cell membrane. ICN then travels into the nucleus where it drives the assembly of a transcriptional activation complex containing the DNA-binding transcription factor CSL, ICN, and a specialized co-activator of the Mastermind family. A consensus DNA binding site motif for the CSL protein was previously defined using selection-based methods, but whether subsequent association of Notch and Mastermind-like proteins affects the DNA binding preferences of CSL has not previously been examined.
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