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Oncogene. 1999 Jun 10;18(23):3481-90.

Expression of dominant-negative ErbB2 in the mammary gland of transgenic mice reveals a role in lobuloalveolar development and lactation.

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Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8023, USA.


Overexpression of the receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB2/HER2/Neu (ErbB2) occurs in 15-40% of human breast cancers. To determine the function of ErbB2 signaling during normal mouse mammary gland development, we expressed a carboxyl-terminal truncated dominant negative allele of ErbB2 (ErbB2deltaIC) in the developing mouse mammary gland. Despite ErbB2deltaIC expression within mammary glands of pubescent virgin and pregnant mice, a phenotype was not observed until late in pregnancy. At 1 day post-partum, lactationally active, distended lobuloalveoli failed to form. This phenotype was exaggerated in multiparous females expressing ErbB2deltaIC. Immunohistochemical staining for ErbB2deltaIC revealed a concordance between high levels of ErbB2deltaIC protein expression and the absence of lactational products within the lumens of ErbB2deltaIC stained lobuloalveoli. These results demonstrate that ErbB2 signaling is required for proper mammary development and lactation at parturition.

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