The receptor encoded by the Notch gene plays a central role in preventing cells from making decisions about their fates until appropriate signals are present. This function of Notch requires the product of the Suppressor of Hairless gene. Loss of either Notch or Suppressor of Hairless function results in cells making premature and incorrect cell fate decisions, whilst increases in Notch signalling prevent cells from making these decisions. Here we find that the proneural clusters are not established correctly in certain Abruptex mutations of Notch and this failure to establish proneural clusters correctly is not due to increased Notch signalling during lateral inhibition. In addition we show that the overexpression of certain dominant negative Notch molecules can disrupt the initiation of proneural cluster development in a manner similar to the Abruptex mutants.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.