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Nature. 2005 Jun 16;435(7044):964-8.

Notch signals control the fate of immature progenitor cells in the intestine.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


The Notch signalling pathway plays a crucial role in specifying cellular fates in metazoan development by regulating communication between adjacent cells. Correlative studies suggested an involvement of Notch in intestinal development. Here, by modulating Notch activity in the mouse intestine, we directly implicate Notch signals in intestinal cell lineage specification. We also show that Notch activation is capable of amplifying the intestinal progenitor pool while inhibiting cell differentiation. We conclude that Notch activity is required for the maintenance of proliferating crypt cells in the intestinal epithelium.

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