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Genetics. 1997 Sep;147(1):177-88.

A functional analysis of Notch mutations in Drosophila.

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Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.


The Notch gene encodes a receptor protein that is involved in many processes during development. Its best understood role is during neurogenesis in a process called "lateral inhibition." However, it has been proposed that Notch also has a role in defining the proneural clusters in the first place. This raises the possibility that the Notch protein is acting as a multifunctional receptor. To test this hypothesis, we have carried out a genetic analysis of molecularly characterized Notch alleles to identify alleles that affect only one of the two proposed functions. Here we present evidence that Notch alleles can be identified that appear to affect the function of Notch during either lateral inhibition or the definition of proneural clusters. In addition our results indicate that there may be discrete regions of the Notch protein required for each function.

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