The Enhancer of split locus is required during many cell-fate decisions in Drosophila, including the segregation of neural precursors in the embryo. We have generated monoclonal antibodies that recognise some of the basic helix-loop-helix proteins encoded by the Enhancer of split locus and have used them to examine expression of Enhancer of split proteins during neurogenesis. The proteins are expressed in a dynamic pattern in the ventral neurogenic region and are confined to those ectodermal cells that surround a neuroblast in the process of delaminating. There is no staining in the neuroblasts themselves. We have also examined the relationship between Enhancer of split protein accumulation and the Notch signalling pathway. Protein expression is abolished in a number of neurogenic mutant backgrounds, including Notch, but is increased as a result of expressing a constitutively active Notch product. We conclude that Notch signalling activity is directly responsible for the accumulation of basic helix-loop-helix proteins encoded by the Enhancer of split locus.

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