Notch Signaling and the Generation of Cell Diversity in <i>Drosophila</i> Neuroblast Lineages

Chapter Details

Pub Date: 22 Dec 2011
Pages: 14
Chapter Category: Cell Biology
Taken from the Book: Notch Signaling in Embryology and Cancer
Book Series: Special Books
Edited by: Jörg Reichrath and Sandra Reichrath

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Notch Signaling and the Generation of Cell Diversity in Drosophila Neuroblast Lineages

Gerald Udolph

About this Chapter

Notch is a membrane bound transcription factor and it plays fundamental roles in many cell‑cell interaction events usually involving directly neighboring cells relating an extrinsic signal of a sending cell to the nucleus of the receiving cell to modulate gene expression patterns in this cell. Notch regulates cell fate specification, cell proliferation as well as cell death in the contexts of many organs and cell types. Although the mechanisms of signal transduction from the cell surface to the nucleus are relatively simple, it is not fully understood how such a straightforward pathway can result in tremendously complex outcomes at the cellular level. This review discusses some of the known roles of Notch during central nervous system development in Drosophila. In the CNS, Notch is a major player in creating cellular diversity on the level of binary cell fates by possibly activating differential gene expression in sibling cells arising through asymmetric cell division. This review also raises some questions related to Notch function during neural cell fate specification which have not yet been satisfactorily addressed in the field. Finding answers to these questions may provide further insights into how cell‑cell interactions in the nervous system involving Notch control the generation of cellular diversity.

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