Cheng, Y.C., Amoyel, M., Qiu, X., Jiang, Y.J., Xu, Q., and Wilkinson, D.G. (2004) Notch activation regulates the segregation and differentiation of rhombomere boundary cells in the zebrafish hindbrain. Developmental Cell. 6(4):539-550.
During segmentation of the vertebrate hindbrain, a distinct population of boundary cells forms at the interface between each segment. Little is known regarding mechanisms that regulate the formation or functions of these cells. We have investigated a potential role of Notch signaling and find that in the zebrafish hindbrain, radical fringe is expressed in boundary cells and delta genes are expressed adjacent to boundaries, consistent with a sustained activation of Notch in boundary cells. Mosaic expression experiments reveal that activation of the Notch/Su(H) pathway regulates cell affinity properties that segregate cells to boundaries. In addition, Notch signaling correlates with a delayed neurogenesis at hindbrain boundaries and is required to inhibit premature neuronal differentiation of boundary cells. These findings reveal that Notch activation couples the regulation of location and differentiation in hindbrain boundary cells. Such coupling may be important for these cells to act as a stable signaling center.