Nfatc1’s Role in Mammary Epithelial Morphogenesis and Basal Stem/progenitor Cell Self-renewal

Melissa McNeil, Yingying Han, Peng Sun, Kazuhide Watanabe, Jun Jiang, Natasha Chen, Zhengquan Yu, Bin Zhou, Xing Dai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mammary gland is an outstanding system to study the regulatory mechanisms governing adult epithelial stem cell activity. Stem cells in the basal layer of the mammary gland fuel the morphogenesis and regeneration of a complex epithelial network during development and upon transplantation. The self-renewal of basal stem/progenitor cells is subjected to regulation by both cell-intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms. Nfatc1 is a transcription factor that regulates breast tumorigenesis and metastasis, but its role in mammary epithelial development and stem cell function has not been investigated. Here we show that Nfatc1 is expressed in a small subset of mammary basal epithelial cells and its epithelial-specific deletion results in mild defects in side branching and basal-luminal cell balance. Moreover, Nfatc1-deficient basal cells exhibit reduced colony forming ability in vitro and somewhat compromised regenerative potential upon transplantation. Thus, our study provides evidence for a detectable yet non-essential role of Nfatc1 in mammary epithelial morphogenesis and basal stem/progenitor cell self-renewal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-365
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Basal cell
  • Mammary gland
  • Nfatc1
  • Self-renewal
  • Stem cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Nfatc1’s Role in Mammary Epithelial Morphogenesis and Basal Stem/progenitor Cell Self-renewal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this