Prolactin promotes mammary pathogenesis independently from cyclin D1.
ABSTRACT: Epidemiological and experimental studies have revealed an important role for prolactin (PRL) in breast cancer. Cyclin D1 is a major downstream target of PRL in lobuloalveolar development during pregnancy and is amplified and/or overexpressed in many breast carcinomas. To examine the importance of cyclin D1 in PRL-induced pathogenesis, we generated transgenic mice (NRL-PRL) that overexpress PRL in mammary epithelial cells, with wild-type, heterozygous, or genetically ablated cyclin D1 in the FVB/N genetic background. Although loss of one cyclin D1 allele did not affect PRL-induced mammary lesions in nonparous females, the complete absence of cyclin D1 (D1(-/-)) markedly decreased tumor incidence. Nevertheless, NRL-PRL/D1(-/-) females developed significantly more preneoplastic lesions (eg, epithelial hyperplasias and mammary intraepithelial neoplasias) than D1(-/-) females. Moreover, although lack of cyclin D1 reduced proliferation of morphologically normal mammary epithelium, transgenic PRL restored it to rates of wild-type females. PRL posttranscriptionally increased nuclear cyclin D3 protein in D1(-/-) luminal cells, indicating one compensatory mechanism. Consistently, pregnancy induced extensive lobuloalveolar growth in the absence of cyclin D1. However, transcripts for milk proteins were reduced, and pups failed to survive, suggesting that mammary differentiation was inadequate. Together, these results indicate that cyclin D1 is an important, but not essential, mediator of PRL-induced mammary proliferation and pathology in FVB/N mice and is critical for differentiation and lactation.
Project description:Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that increased prolactin (PRL) exposure raises the risk of invasive estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha)-positive breast cancer in women. However, the mechanism(s) whereby this occurs and the interactions with estrogen itself in this disease remain poorly understood. In order to investigate the role of ovarian hormones in the disease process, we employed a transgenic model neu-related lipocalin (NRL)-PRL in which transgenic PRL is directed to mammary epithelial cells by the PRL- and estrogen-insensitive NRL promoter, mimicking the endogenous PRL expression within the breast observed in women. This high local exposure leads to mammary lesion development and eventually carcinomas. Ovariectomy (ovx), shortly after puberty, did not alter the incidence or latency of PRL-induced mammary carcinomas, consistent with the independence of PRL from circulating estrogens as a risk factor for invasive breast cancer in women. However, chronic estrogen administration to ovx NRL-PRL females decreased the latency of both ERalpha-positive and -negative tumors. We identified multiple mechanisms that may underlie this observation. Elevated estrogen exposure cooperated with PRL to increase epithelial proliferation and myoepithelial abnormalities, increasing the incidence of preneoplastic lesions. Critical components of the extracellular matrix secreted by the myoepithelium were reduced with age, and transgenic PRL raised transcripts for tenascin-C and maspin, both associated with tumor progression and poor prognosis in subclasses of clinical breast tumors. Mammary pERK1/2 and pAkt, but not phosphorylated Stat5, were markedly elevated by local PRL. Together, these findings indicate that PRL employs multiple mechanisms to promote mammary tumorigenesis.
Project description:PI 3-kinase enhancer A (PIKE-A) is critical for the activation of Akt signalling, and has an essential function in promoting cancer cell survival. However, its physiological functions are poorly understood. Here, we show that PIKE-A directly associates with both signal transducer and activator of transcription 5a (STAT5a) and prolactin (PRL) receptor, which is essential for PRL-provoked STAT5a activation and the subsequent gene transcription. Depletion of PIKE-A in HC11 epithelial cells diminished PRL-induced STAT5 activation and cyclin D1 expression, resulting in profoundly impaired cell proliferation in vitro. To confirm the function of PIKE-A in PRL signalling in vivo, we generated PIKE knockout (PIKE-/-) mice. PIKE-/- mice displayed a severe lactation defect that was characterized by enhanced apoptosis and impaired proliferation of mammary epithelial cells. At parturition, STAT5 activation and cyclin D1 expression were substantially reduced in the mammary epithelium of PIKE-/- mice. The defective mammary gland development in PIKE-/- mice was rescued by overexpression of a mammary-specific cyclin D1 transgene. These data establish a critical function for PIKE-A in mediating PRL functions.
Project description:Transplantation studies have demonstrated the existence of mammary progenitor cells with the ability to self-renew and regenerate a functional mammary gland. Although these progenitors are the likely targets for oncogenic transformation, correlating progenitor populations with certain oncogenic stimuli has been difficult. Cyclin D1 is required for lobuloalveolar development during pregnancy and lactation as well as MMTV-ErbB2- but not MMTV-Wnt1-mediated tumorigenesis. Using a kinase-deficient cyclin D1 mouse, we identified two functional mammary progenitor cell populations, one of which is the target of MMTV-ErbB2. Moreover, cyclin D1 activity is required for the self-renewal and differentiation of mammary progenitors because its abrogation leads to a failure to maintain the mammary epithelial regenerative potential and also results in defects in luminal lineage differentiation.
Project description:To identify the potential functions of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha) in skin development, transgenic mice were generated to target constitutively activated PPARalpha (VP16PPARalpha) to the stratified epithelia by use of the keratin K5 promoter. In addition to marked alterations in epidermal development, the transgenic mice had a severe defect in lactation during pregnancy resulting in 100% pup mortality. In this study, the alteration of mammary gland development in these transgenic mice was investigated. The results showed that expression of the VP16PPARalpha transgene during pregnancy resulted in impaired development of lobuloalveoli, which is associated with reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis of mammary epithelia. Mammary epithelia from transgenic mice also showed a significant reduction in the expression of beta-catenin and a down-regulation of one of its target genes, cyclin D1, which is thought to be required for lobuloalveolar development. Furthermore, upon PPARalpha ligand treatment, similar effects on lobuloalveolar development were observed in wild-type mice, but not in PPARalpha-null mice. These findings suggest that PPARalpha activation has a marked influence in mammary lobuloalveolar development.
Project description:The NRL-PRL murine model, defined by mammary-selective transgenic rat prolactin ligand rPrl expression, establishes spontaneous ER+ mammary tumors in nulliparous females, mimicking the association between elevated prolactin (PRL) and risk for development of ER+ breast cancer in postmenopausal women. Whole-genome and exome sequencing in a discovery cohort (n = 5) of end-stage tumors revealed canonical activating mutations and copy number amplifications of Kras. The frequent mutations in this pathway were validated in an extension cohort, identifying activating Ras alterations in 79% of tumors (23 of 29). Transcriptome analyses over the course of oncogenesis revealed marked alterations associated with Ras activity in established tumors compared with preneoplastic tissues; in cell-intrinsic processes associated with mitosis, cell adhesion, and invasion; as well as in the surrounding tumor environment. These genomic analyses suggest that PRL induces a selective bottleneck for spontaneous Ras-driven tumors that may model a subset of aggressive clinical ER+ breast cancers.
Project description:In a previous work, we reported that young transgenic (Tg) mice expressing the intracellular domain of Notch1 (N1(IC)) showed expansion of lin(-) CD24(+) CD29(high) mammary cells enriched for stem cells and later developed mammary tumors. Mammary tumor formation was abolished or greatly reduced in cyclin D1(-/-) or cyclin D1(+/-) N1(IC) Tg mice, respectively. Here, we studied the epithelial cell subsets present in N1(IC)-induced tumors. CD24(-) CD29(int) and CD24(+) CD29(high) cells were found to be present at low numbers in tumors. The latter had the same properties as those expanded in young Tg females, and neither cell population showed tumor-initiating potential nor were they required for maintenance of tumors after transplantation. CD24(int) CD29(int) cells were identified as tumor-initiating and mammosphere-forming cells and represent a large percentage tumor cells in this model. Their number was significantly lower in tumors from cyclin D1(+/-) N1(IC) Tg mice. Using cyclin D1 shRNA knockdown, we also show that N1(IC)-induced tumor cells remain addicted to cyclin D1 for growth and survival. Interestingly, at lower levels of cyclin D1 or after transplantation in the presence of normal mammary cells, these N1(IC)-expressing tumor cells reverted to a state of low malignancy and differentiate into duct-like structures. They seem to adopt the fate of bi-potential stem/progenitor cells similar to that of the expanded CD24(+) CD29(high) stem/progenitor cells from which they are likely to be derived. Our data indicate that decreasing cyclin D1 levels would be an efficient treatment for tumors induced by N1 signaling.
Project description:Most breast cancers that occur in women express estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha). However, a large subset of these cancers either does not initially respond to anti-estrogen therapy or develops resistance to such treatment modalities. One postulated mechanism of this failure is signaling cross talk between hormones and local growth factors. To examine these complex interactions in vivo, we assessed the effects of estrogen on transforming growth factor alpha (TGFalpha)- and prolactin (PRL)-induced mammary tumorigenesis in transgenic mice. Both PRL and estrogen reduced the latency of TGFalpha-induced oncogenesis, resulting in tumors that were variably ERalpha-positive, but were progesterone receptor-negative. However, despite elevated ERalpha levels in NRL-PRL/TGFalpha glands, tumor latency was not reduced with increasing estrogen levels, nor increased after ovariectomy. Furthermore, PRL and TGFalpha in combination blocked the mitogenic effects of estrogen, dramatically reduced progesterone receptor levels, and diminished ERalpha down-regulation in response to circulating estrogen levels, in contrast to the other genotypes. Notably, however, ductal morphology remained responsive to estrogen, indicating that TGFalpha and PRL in combination can inhibit some, but not all, estrogenic signals. Both in vitro and in vivo, PRL and TGFalpha cooperatively enhanced Akt phosphorylation, which is associated with endocrine resistance in human disease. These findings provide insight into the interactions of PRL with growth factors during mammary oncogenesis and suggest combinatorial approaches that may result in improved therapeutic efficacy.
Project description:Estrogen receptor (ER)-mediated gene expression plays an essential role in mammary gland morphogenesis, function, and carcinogenesis. The repressor of ER activity (REA) is an ER-interactive protein that counterbalances estrogen-induced ER transcriptional activity. Our previous study showed that genetic deletion of both REA alleles resulted in embryonic lethality. This study demonstrates that REA and ERalpha are coexpressed in mammary epithelial cells. REA heterozygous (REA(+/-)) mutant mice exhibit faster mammary ductal elongation in virgin animals, increased lobuloalveolar development during pregnancy, and delayed mammary gland involution after weaning. These morphological phenotypes of REA(+/-) mice are associated with significantly increased cell proliferation and ER transcriptional activities, as indicated by the estrogen response element (ERE)-luciferase reporter in the WT/ERE-Luc and REA(+/-)/ERE-Luc bigenic mice and by the higher expression levels of estrogen-responsive genes such as progesterone receptor and cyclin D1 in the mammary gland. Our analysis also revealed that REA is an important repressor of ER transcriptional activity in the mammary gland under natural, as well as ovariectomized and estrogen-replaced, hormonal conditions. Our results indicate that REA is a physiological modulator of ER function in the mammary gland and that its correct gene dosage is required for maintenance of normal ER activity and normal mammary gland development. Consequently, a reduction or loss of REA function may cause overactivation of ER and increase breast cancer risk in humans.