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Lateral inhibition mediated by the Drosophila neurogenic gene Delta is enhanced by proneural proteins

Kunisch, M., Haenlin, M., Campos-Ortega, J.A.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1994 v.91 no.21 pp. 10139-10143
Drosophila melanogaster, DNA-binding proteins, structural genes, animal proteins, cell differentiation, nervous system, embryogenesis, transcription (genetics), promoter regions, binding sites
Cells in the neuroectoderm of Drosophila become either neural or epidermal progenitors. A critical threshold concentration of proneural gene products in a given cell causes it to develop as a neuroblast. The proteins encoded by the genes Delta (Dl) and Notch (N) act as the source and the receptor, respectively, of inhibitory signals sent by the neuroblast to neighboring cells that prevent these cells from also adopting the neural fate. We show here that proneural gene products activate transcription of Delta in the neuroectoderm by binding to specific sites in its promoter. This transcriptional activation enhances lateral inhibition and thus helps ensure that cells in the vicinity of prospective neuroblasts will themselves become epidermoblasts.