Research ArticleDevelopmental Biology

Notch signaling acts before cell division to promote asymmetric cleavage and cell fate of neural precursor cells

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Science Signaling  21 Oct 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 348, pp. ra101
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005317

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Another Function for Notch in Asymmetric Cell Division

In Drosophila, neural precursor cells divide asymmetrically, giving rise to different types of neurons. The protein Numb segregates to one side of the precursor cell, such that only one daughter cell inherits Numb. Numb inhibits Notch signaling, and thus, Notch specifies the fate of only one of the daughter cells. Bhat found that Notch signaling also plays a role in the precursor cell. Notch inactivation in the early-stage precursor cells caused mislocalization of Numb, disrupted positioning of the cleavage furrow, and produced daughter cells with the identical fate and size. Notch inactivation at a later stage led to incomplete Numb segregation and produced daughter cells with identical cell fate but different sizes. Moreover, precursor cells with excess Notch signaling differentiated too soon, taking the fate of a daughter cell before division. Thus, Notch signaling plays an integral role at multiple stages of asymmetric cell division of neural precursor cells.

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