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Oncogene. 2000 Aug 31;19(37):4243-54.

Constitutive expression of erbB2 in epidermis of transgenic mice results in epidermal hyperproliferation and spontaneous skin tumor development.

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The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Carcinogenesis, Science Park-Research Division, PO Box 389, Smithville, Texas, TX 78957, USA.


The erbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases, which consists of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr/erbB1), erbB2 (neu), erbB3 and erbB4, has been shown to be important for both normal development as well as neoplasia. The expression of rat erbB2 was targeted to the basal layer of mouse epidermis with the bovine keratin 5 promoter. Overexpression of wild type rat erbB2 in the basal layer of epidermis led to alopecia, follicular hyperplasia and sebaceous gland enlargement as well as hyperplasia of the interfollicular epidermis. Spontaneous papillomas, some of which converted to squamous cell carcinomas, arose in homozygous erbB2 transgenic mice as early as 6 weeks of age with >90% incidence by 6 months. Analysis of several proliferation/differentiation markers indicated that erbB2 overexpression led to epidermal hyperproliferation and a possible delay in epidermal differentiation. Transgenic mice were also hypersensitive to the proliferative effects of the skin tumor promoter, 12-0-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and were more sensitive to two-stage carcinogenesis. Elevations in EGFr and erbB2 protein as well as erbB2:EGFr and erbB2:erbB3 heterodimers were observed in skin of the erbB2 transgenic mice. Phosphotyrosine levels of the EGFr, erbB2 and erbB3 proteins were also elevated. These results indicate an important role for erbB2 signaling in epidermal growth, development and neoplasia. Oncogene (2000) 19, 4243 - 4254.

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