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J Mammary Gland Biol Neoplasia. 2008 Jun;13(2):235-46. doi: 10.1007/s10911-008-9080-x. Epub 2008 Apr 25.

ErbB4/HER4: role in mammary gland development, differentiation and growth inhibition.

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UNC-Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, 450 West Ave CB 7295, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


The ErbB receptor tyrosine kinase family has often been associated with increased growth of breast epithelial cells, as well as malignant transformation and progression. In contrast, ErbB4/HER4 exhibits unique attributes from a two step proteolytic cleavage which releases an 80 kilodalton, nuclear localizing, tyrosine kinase to a signal transduction mechanism that slows growth and stimulates differentiation of breast cells. This review provides an overview of ErbB4/HER4 in growth and differentiation of the mammary epithelium, including its physiologic role in development, the contrasting growth inhibition/tumor suppression and growth acceleration of distinct ErbB4/HER4 isoforms and a description of the unique cell cycle regulated pattern of nuclear HER4 ubiquitination and destruction.

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