On the roles of Notch, Delta, kuzbanian, and inscuteable during the development of Drosophila embryonic neuroblast lineages

Dev Biol. 2009 Dec 15;336(2):156-68. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.09.030. Epub 2009 Sep 25.


The generation of cellular diversity in the nervous system involves the mechanism of asymmetric cell division. Besides an array of molecules, including the Par protein cassette, a heterotrimeric G protein signalling complex, Inscuteable plays a major role in controlling asymmetric cell division, which ultimately leads to differential activation of the Notch signalling pathway and correct specification of the two daughter cells. In this context, Notch is required to be active in one sibling and inactive in the other. Here, we investigated the requirement of genes previously known to play key roles in sibling cell fate specification such as members of the Notch signalling pathway, e.g., Notch (N), Delta (Dl), and kuzbanian (kuz) and a crucial regulator of asymmetric cell division, inscuteable (insc) throughout lineage progression of 4 neuroblasts (NB1-1, MP2, NB4-2, and NB7-1). Notch-mediated cell fate specification defects were cell-autonomous and were observed in all neuroblast lineages even in cells born from late ganglion mother cells (GMC) within the lineages. We also show that Dl functions non-autonomously during NB lineage progression and clonal cells do not require Dl from within the clone. This suggests that within a NB lineage Dl is dispensable for sibling cell fate specification. Furthermore, we provide evidence that kuz is involved in sibling cell fate specification in the central nervous system. It is cell-autonomously required in the same postmitotic cells which also depend on Notch function. This indicates that KUZ is required to facilitate a functional Notch signal in the Notch-dependent cell for correct cell fate specification. Finally, we show that three neuroblast lineages (NB1-1, NB4-2, and NB7-1) require insc function for sibling cell fate specification in cells born from early GMCs whereas insc is not required in cells born from later GMCs of the same lineages. Thus, there is differential requirement for insc for cell fate specification depending on the stage of lineage progression of NBs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology*
  • DNA Primers
  • Disintegrins / genetics
  • Disintegrins / physiology*
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Metalloendopeptidases / genetics
  • Metalloendopeptidases / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Notch / genetics
  • Receptors, Notch / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • Disintegrins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • N protein, Drosophila
  • Receptors, Notch
  • delta protein
  • insc protein, Drosophila
  • KUZ protein, Drosophila
  • Metalloendopeptidases