• Notch signaling;
  • foxD5;
  • transcription factors;
  • neural differentiation


We investigated the role of the Notch signaling pathway in regulating several transcription factors that stabilize a neural fate and expand the neural plate. Increased Notch signaling in a neural lineage via a constitutively activated form (NICD) up-regulated geminin and zic2 in a cell-autonomous manner, and expanded the neural plate domains of sox11, sox2, and sox3. Loss- and gain-of-function assays show that foxD5 acts upstream of notch1 gene expression. Decreasing Notch signaling with an anti-morphic form of a Notch ligand (X-Delta-1STU) showed that the foxD5-mediated expansion of the sox gene neural plate domains requires Notch signaling. However, geminin and zic2 appear to be dually regulated by foxD5 and Notch1 signaling. These studies demonstrate that: (1) Notch signaling acts downstream of foxD5 to promote the expression of a subset of neural ectodermal transcription factors; and (2) Notch signaling and the foxD5 transcriptional pathway together maintain the neural plate in an undifferentiated state. Developmental Dynamics 238:1358–1365, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.