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Mech Dev. 1998 Dec;79(1-2):39-50.

Evidence for a novel Notch pathway required for muscle precursor selection in Drosophila.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas, Lawrence 66045, USA.


The Notch pathway mediates cell fate choice in many species and developmental contexts. In the Drosophila mesoderm, phenotypic differences were observed when different components of the pathway were defective. To determine if these differences reflect variations in the signaling pathway or in the persistence of wild-type maternal products, we examined muscle precursors in embryos that lacked both maternally- and zygotically-derived gene products, called holonull embryos. Most holonull neurogenic embryos have the same number and arrangement of extra muscle precursors, but in Notch holonull embryos many additional cells also become muscle precursors. Thus Notch is active in cells where its known ligands and downstream effectors are not. These results indicate that Notch acts in two pathways to determine cell fates in mesoderm: the Delta-to-Notch-to-Suppressor of Hairless-to-Enhancer of split signaling pathway previously defined, and a second pathway that acts independently.

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