We have developed a model system for studying differentiation in the mammary gland, by using two clonal cultures deriving from a rat breast adenocarcinoma. They differ in the ability to form domes, structures the significance of which is unknown. By using the subtractive cDNA library approach, we isolated a cDNA that is highly expressed in the dome-forming cells, and identical to the rat8 gene and highly homologous to the human 9- 27 gene. Antisense treatment of the dome-forming cells specifically and reproducibly abolishes dome formation, while forced expression of the gene in non-dome-forming cells causes morphological changes suggestive of 'flat' domes. In situ hybridization on rat tissues shows that the gene is expressed in epithelia, especially in those forming tubular structures, suggesting a relatedness between these structures and domes. Cytokeratin 8 and E cadherin are strongly expressed in the domes but not outside them, suggesting that the rat8 gene triggers the cells to express molecules that tighten the lateral connections between the cells; the process is likely to parallel that occurring during the differentiation of the mammary gland.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - Feb 3 1998
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