The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 47: 263 - 272 (2003)

Vol 47, Issue 4

Notch activity is required to maintain floorplate identity and to control neurogenesis in the chick hindbrain and spinal cord

Published: 30 November -0001

Isabelle le Roux, Julian Lewis and David Ish-Horowicz

London Research Institute, Cancer Research UK, London, UK.


Notch signalling plays a major role in many invertebrate and vertebrate patterning systems. In this paper, we use high-titre, non-replicative pseudotype viruses to show that the two Notch ligands, Delta1 and Serrate1 (Jagged1), have differing activities in the developing chick spinal cord and hindbrain. In the walls of the neural tube, Serrate1 appears not to affect neurogenesis, in contrast to Delta1 which mediates lateral inhibition as elsewhere in the nervous system. In the floorplate we find that there is also a requirement for Notch, but with a different type of dependence on the two Notch ligands: cells with a floorplate character are lost when Notch activity is blocked with dominant-negative, truncated forms of either Delta1 or Serrate1. Our results are consistent with ligand-receptor specificity within the Notch signalling pathway, Serrate1 recognising selectively Notch2 (which is expressed in the floorplate), and Delta1 acting on both Notch2 and Notch1 (which is expressed in the walls of the neural tube).

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