Author(s): Henry MD, Triplett AA, Oh KB, Smith GH, Wagner KU
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Abstract Using a Cre-lox-based genetic labeling technique, we have recently discovered a parity-induced mammary epithelial subtype that is abundant in nonlactating and nonpregnant, parous females. These mammary epithelial cells serve as alveolar progenitors in subsequent pregnancies, and transplantation studies revealed that they possess features of multipotent progenitors such as self-renewal and the capability to contribute to ductal and alveolar morphogenesis. Here, we report that these cells are the cellular targets for transformation in MMTV-neu transgenic mice that exhibit accelerated mammary tumorigenesis in multiparous animals. The selective ablation of this epithelial subtype reduces the onset of tumorigenesis in multiparous MMTV-neu transgenics. There is, however, experimental evidence to suggest that parity-induced mammary epithelial cells may not be the only cellular targets in other MMTV-promoter-based transgenic strains. In particular, the heterogeneous MMTV-wnt1 lesions predominantly express the ductal differentiation marker Nkcc1 that is absent in MMTV-neu-derived tumors. Our observations support the idea that tumors originate from distinctly different epithelial subtypes in selected MMTV-promoter-driven cancer models and that diverse oncogenes might exert discrete effects on particular mammary epithelial subtypes.
This article was published in Oncogene
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy