The Notch signaling pathway is known to govern various aspects of tissue differentiation during embryonic development by mediating local cell-cell interactions that often control cell fate. The conserved components that underlie Notch signaling have been isolated in vertebrates, leading to a biochemical delineation of a core Notch signaling pathway and functional studies of this pathway during embryogenesis. Herein we highlight recent progress in determining how Notch signaling contributes to the development of the vertebrate embryo. We first discuss the role of Notch in the process of segmentation where rapid changes have been shown to occur in both the spatial and temporal aspects of Notch signaling, which are critical for segmental patterning. Indeed, the role of Notch in segmentation re-emphasizes a recurring question in Notch biology: How are the components involved in Notch signaling regulated to ensure their dynamic properties? Second, we address this question by discussing recent work on the biochemical mechanisms that potentially regulate Notch signaling during segmentation, including those that act on the receptors, ligands, and signal transduction apparatus.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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