Asymmetric Rab 11 endosomes regulate delta recycling and specify cell fate in the Drosophila nervous system

Cell. 2005 Sep 9;122(5):763-73. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2005.08.017.


Drosophila sensory organ precursor (SOP) cells are a well-studied model system for asymmetric cell division. During SOP division, the determinants Numb and Neuralized segregate into the pIIb daughter cell and establish a distinct cell fate by regulating Notch/Delta signaling. Here, we describe a Numb- and Neuralized-independent mechanism that acts redundantly in cell-fate specification. We show that trafficking of the Notch ligand Delta is different in the two daughter cells. In pIIb, Delta passes through the recycling endosome which is marked by Rab 11. In pIIa, however, the recycling endosome does not form because the centrosome fails to recruit Nuclear fallout, a Rab 11 binding partner that is essential for recycling endosome formation. Using a mammalian cell culture system, we demonstrate that recycling endosomes are essential for Delta activity. Our results suggest that cells can regulate signaling pathways and influence their developmental fate by inhibiting the formation of individual endocytic compartments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Drosophila / cytology*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Endosomes / metabolism*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Nervous System / cytology
  • Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Sense Organs / cytology*
  • Sense Organs / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Ligands
  • Membrane Proteins
  • N protein, Drosophila
  • Receptors, Notch
  • delta protein
  • rab11 protein
  • rab GTP-Binding Proteins