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Cell Growth & Differentiation, Vol 7, Issue 1 3-11, Copyright © 1996 by American Association of Cancer Research


ARTICLES

Expression of a viral oncoprotein during mammary gland development alters cell fate and function: induction of p53-independent apoptosis is followed by impaired milk protein production in surviving cells

M Li, J Hu, K Heermeier, L Hennighausen and PA Furth
Department of Medicine, University of Maryland Medical School, Baltimore 21201, USA.

The disruption of cell cycle regulation is associated with developmental abnormalities and tumorigenesis. The SV40 large T antigen (Tag) interferes with cell cycle control by interacting with the pRb family and p53. Mice carrying a transgene composed of the whey acidic protein (WAP) gene promoter and the Tag coding sequence express Tag during pregnancy and are unable to nurse their young. Tag expression induced apoptosis in mammary epithelial cells during late pregnancy. At least 5% of mammary epithelial cells were undergoing apoptosis at any one time. In contrast, less than 0.2% of mammary epithelial cells in nontransgenic littermates was undergoing apoptosis. Apoptosis in Tag mice was associated with increased steady-state RNA levels of bax and bcl-xL + S, with a relative increase in bcl-xs expression. Since p53 was sequestered by Tag, it is likely that p53-independent mechanisms precipitated apoptosis. The Tag-expressing mammary alveolar cells that did not undergo apoptosis continued to differentiate through late pregnancy, as measured by the sequential activation of milk protein gene expression. However, milk protein production, processing, and secretion was impaired, resulting in lactation failure.


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HOME HELP FEEDBACK SUBSCRIPTIONS ARCHIVE SEARCH TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cancer Research Clinical Cancer Research
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Molecular Cancer Research Cell Growth & Differentiation
Copyright © 1996 by the American Association of Cancer Research.