Faculty Research 1990 - 1999


Notch1 is essential for postimplantation development in mice.

Document Type


Publication Date


JAX Source

Genes Dev 1994 Mar 15;8(6):707-19


The Notch gene of Drosophila encodes a large transmembrane protein involved in cell fate determination during embryonic and larval development. This gene is evolutionarily conserved, and Notch homologs have been cloned from several vertebrate species. To examine the in vivo role of the Notch1 gene, a mouse homolog of Notch, a mutation was introduced by targeted disruption in embryonic stem cells, and these cells were used to generate mutant mice. Intercrosses of animals heterozygous for the Notch1 mutation yielded no live-born homozygous mutant offspring. Homozygous mutant embryos died before 11.5 days of gestation. Morphological and histological analysis of the homozygous mutant embryos indicated that pattern formation through the first nine days of gestation appeared largely normal. However, histological analysis of mutant embryos subsequent to this stage revealed widespread cell death. Death of mutant embryos did not appear to be attributable to defects in placentation or vascularization. Examination of the RNA expression pattern of the Notch2 gene, another Notch gene family member, indicated that it partially overlapped the Notch1 expression pattern. Genetic analysis of the Notch1 mutation also demonstrated that it was not allelic to a mouse mutation described previously, Danforth's short tail (Sd). These results demonstrate that the Notch1 gene plays a vital role during early postimplantation development in mice.