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Cell Death Differ. 2000 Apr;7(4):360-7.

Laminin-rich extracellular matrix association with mammary epithelial cells suppresses Brca1 expression.

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Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, Department of Pharmacology and Biotechnology Centre, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.


Brca1 mRNA was detectable in female mouse mammary gland tissue from adult virgins, during pregnancy and early lactation. It was associated with phases of mammary epithelial cell proliferation and differentiation but the pattern of Brca1 expression was dissociable from that of a true differentiation marker, beta-casein, by virtue of its significant expression in the virgin gland and termination of its expression in early lactation. In a primary cell culture model, association of a laminin-rich extracellular matrix (ECM) with mammary epithelial cells was required for cell survival and cell differentiation and suppressed Brca1 expression in these cells. ECM-association may significantly contribute to the final restriction in Brca1 expression in the lactating gland in vivo. Interestingly, our results suggest that mammary epithelial cells undergo apoptosis both when expressing and when not expressing Brca1, depending on whether the dying cell populations had been terminally differentiated or not.

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