Expression of an extracellular deletion of Xotch diverts cell fate in Xenopus embryos

Cell. 1993 May 21;73(4):659-71. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(93)90247-n.


Xotch is a Xenopus homolog of Notch, a receptor involved in cell fate decisions in Drosophila. Using an extracellular deletion construct, Xotch delta E, we show that Xotch has a similar role in Xenopus embryos. Broad expression causes the loss of dorsal structures and the expansion and disorganization of the brain. Single blastomere injections of Xotch delta E induce autonomous neural and mesodermal hypertrophy, even in the absence of cell division. Xotch delta E inhibits the early expression of epidermal and neural crest markers yet enhances and extends the response of animal caps to mesodermal and neural induction. Our data suggest a mechanism for the function of Notch homologs in which they delay differentiation and leave undetermined cells competent to respond to later inductive signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Division
  • Insect Hormones / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Microinjections
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mosaicism
  • Muscles / embryology
  • Nervous System / embryology
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Xenopus / embryology*
  • Xenopus / genetics


  • Insect Hormones
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch