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ILAR J. 2016;57(1):12-23. doi: 10.1093/ilar/ilv044.

Lessons Learned from Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus in Animal Models.

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Jaquelin P. Dudley, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, Center for Infectious Disease and Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology at the University of Texas at Austin. Tatyana V. Golovkina, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois. Susan R. Ross, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Microbiology in the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV), which was discovered as a milk-transmitted, infectious, cancer-inducing agent in the 1930s, has been used as an animal model for the study of retroviral infection and transmission, antiviral immune responses, and breast cancer and lymphoma biology. The main target cells for MMTV infection in vivo are cells of the immune system and mammary epithelial cells. Although the host mounts an immune response to the virus, MMTV has evolved multiple means of evading this response. MMTV causes mammary tumors when the provirus integrates into the mammary epithelial and lymphoid cell genome during viral replication and thereby activates cellular oncogene expression. Thus, tumor induction is a by-product of the infection cycle. A number of important oncogenes have been discovered by carrying out MMTV integration site analysis, some of which may play a role in human breast cancer.


mammary tumors; mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV); mouse models of breast cancer

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