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Cell. 2001 Dec 14;107(6):763-75.

IKKalpha provides an essential link between RANK signaling and cyclin D1 expression during mammary gland development.

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Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction, Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


To identify functions of the IKKalpha subunit of IkappaB kinase that require catalytic activity, we generated an Ikkalpha(AA) knockin allele containing alanines instead of serines in the activation loop. Ikkalpha(AA/AA) mice are healthy and fertile, but females display a severe lactation defect due to impaired proliferation of mammary epithelial cells. IKKalpha activity is required for NF-kappaB activation in mammary epithelial cells during pregnancy and in response to RANK ligand but not TNFalpha. IKKalpha and NF-kappaB activation are also required for optimal cyclin D1 induction. Defective RANK signaling or cyclin D1 expression results in the same phenotypic effect as the Ikkalpha(AA) mutation, which is completely suppressed by a mammary specific cyclin D1 transgene. Thus, IKKalpha is a critical intermediate in a pathway that controls mammary epithelial proliferation in response to RANK signaling via cyclin D1.

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