The Abruptex class of Notch alleles has attracted interest because they exhibit some properties that are best explained in terms of increased activity and others that are best explained in terms of reduced activity in vivo. Here, we report a comparison of the properties of Abruptex[M1] and wild-type Notch as ligand binding receptors. Abruptex[M1] showed less activity than wild-type Notch in its ability to bind Delta and Serrate and was expressed at reduced levels on the cell surface. When differences in expression level were taken into account, Abruptex[M1] was comparable to Notch in its sensitivity to ligand-induced activation of reporter gene expression. Abruptex[M1] was also comparable to Notch in its requirement for modification by Fringe and in being sensitive to cis-dowregulation by co-expressed ligands. By the available criteria Abruptex[M1] exhibits less activity than Notch. To explain the ectopic activity of Abruptex[M1] in vivo we suggest that it may be necessary to invoke an altered response to an as yet unidentified ligand or cofactor.