The Notch pathway is a widely utilized, evolutionarily conserved regulatory system that plays a central role in the fate decisions of multipotent precursor cells. Notch often acts by inhibiting differentiation along a particular pathway while permitting or promoting self-renewal or differentiation along alternative pathways. Haematopoietic cells and stromal cells express Notch receptors and their ligands, and Notch signalling affects the survival, proliferation, and fate choices of precursors at various stages of haematopoietic development, including whether haematopoietic stem cells self-renew or differentiate, common lymphoid precursors undergo T or B cell differentiation, or monocytes differentiate into macrophage or dendritic cells. These findings suggest that the Notch pathway plays a fundamental role in regulating haematopoietic development.
Copyright 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd.