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Lee, E.C., Yu, S.Y., Baker, N.E. (2000). The scabrous protein can act as an extracellular antagonist of notch signaling in the Drosophila wing.  Curr. Biol. 10(15): 931--934.
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Notch (N) is a receptor for signals that inhibit neural precursor specification [1-6]. As N and its ligand Delta (DI) are expressed homogeneously, other molecules may be differentially expressed or active to permit neural precursor cells to arise intermingled with nonneural cells [7,8]. During Drosophila wing development, the glycosyltransferase encoded by the gene fringe (fng) promotes N signaling in response to DI, but inhibits N signaling in response to Serrate (Ser), which encodes a ligand that is structurally similar to DI. Dorsal expression of Fng protein localizes N signaling to the dorsoventral (DV) wing margin [9-11]. The secreted protein Scabrous (Sca) is a candidate for modulation of N in neural cells. Mutations at the scabrous (sca) locus alter the locations where precursor cells form in the peripheral nervous system [12,13]. Unlike fringe, sca mutations act cell non-autonomously [12]. Here, we report that targeted misexpression of Sca during wing development inhibited N signaling, blocking expression of all N target genes. Sca reduced N activation in response to DI more than in response to Ser. Ligand-independent signaling by overexpression of N protein, or by expression of activated truncated N molecules, was not inhibited by Sca. Our results indicate that Sca can act on N to reduce its availability for paracrine and autocrine interactions with DI and Ser, and can act as an antagonist of N signaling.

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