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Cell. 2000 Sep 29;103(1):75-85.

Combinatorial signaling in the specification of unique cell fates.

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Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology and Molecular Biology Institute, University of California at Los Angeles 90095, USA.


How multifunctional signals combine to specify unique cell fates during pattern formation is not well understood. Here, we demonstrate that together with the transcription factor Lozenge, the nuclear effectors of the EGFR and Notch signaling pathways directly regulate D-Pax2 transcription in cone cells of the Drosophila eye disc. Moreover, the specificity of D-Pax2 expression can be altered upon genetic manipulation of these inputs. Thus, a relatively small number of temporally and spatially controlled signals received by a set of pluripotent cells can create the unique combinations of activated transcription factors required to regulate target genes and ultimately specify distinct cell fates within this group. We expect that similar mechanisms may specify pattern formation in vertebrate developmental systems that involve intercellular communication.

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