E(spl) bHLH genes are targets of the Notch pathway: they are transcriptionally activated in response to the Notch signal. Yet, during imaginal development, additional regulatory factors appear to modulate transcription resulting in different expression patterns. During early embryogenesis all E(spl) bHLH genes are expressed in roughly the same domain, namely the neurogenic ectoderm. Within this region these seven genes show a highly dynamic, yet distinct transcriptional activity. Our analysis further detected tissue specific expression of some E(spl) genes at later embryonic stages. Prominent differences were observed in the dorsolateral and procephalic neuroectodermal regions as well as in the mesoderm. These observations indicate that other factors in addition to the Notch signal participate in the regulation of the individual E(spl) genes not only in imaginal tissues but also during neuroblast specification and other cell fate determination events in the embryo.