Signals delivered via Notch and its ligands Delta and Serrate control developmental choices made by individual cells according to the states of their immediate neighbours. Lateral inhibition mediated by Notch governs neurogenesis. In the inner ear, it generates fine-grained patterns of contrasting cell types. In stem-cell systems, it may regulate the decision to differentiate. Notch signalling can create specialised cells at gene expression boundaries, as at the limb-bud apex. It is crucial for segmentation of the mesoderm into somites, for development of skin appendages, and for many other functions that we do not yet understand.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.