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Nat Genet. 2007 Jun;39(6):759-69. Epub 2007 Apr 29.

MMTV insertional mutagenesis identifies genes, gene families and pathways involved in mammary cancer.

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Division of Molecular Genetics, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Plesmanlaan 121, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


We performed a high-throughput retroviral insertional mutagenesis screen in mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-induced mammary tumors and identified 33 common insertion sites, of which 17 genes were previously not known to be associated with mammary cancer and 13 had not previously been linked to cancer in general. Although members of the Wnt and fibroblast growth factors (Fgf) families were frequently tagged, our exhaustive screening for MMTV insertion sites uncovered a new repertoire of candidate breast cancer oncogenes. We validated one of these genes, Rspo3, as an oncogene by overexpression in a p53-deficient mammary epithelial cell line. The human orthologs of the candidate oncogenes were frequently deregulated in human breast cancers and associated with several tumor parameters. Computational analysis of all MMTV-tagged genes uncovered specific gene families not previously associated with cancer and showed a significant overrepresentation of protein domains and signaling pathways mainly associated with development and growth factor signaling. Comparison of all tagged genes in MMTV and Moloney murine leukemia virus-induced malignancies showed that both viruses target mostly different genes that act predominantly in distinct pathways.

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