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In Vitro Cell Dev Biol. 1985 Aug;21(8):439-44.

Maintenance of milk protein gene expression in a subpopulation of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced rat mammary carcinoma cells grown on attached collagen gels.


Milk protein gene expression was studied in cell subpopulations of 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene-induced rat mammary carcinoma cells enriched or depleted for casein production grown on attached collagen gels. Culture of these cells in the presence of 10% fetal bovine serum, insulin (5 micrograms/ml), hydrocortisone (10 micrograms/ml), and prolactin (5 micrograms/ml) maintained alpha-, beta-, and gamma-casein and whey acidic protein mRNAs at levels identical to cells isolated from perphenazine-treated rats. Whey acidic protein mRNA levels in the tumor cells relative to the 14-d lactating gland were greater than those of the casein mRNAs. Withdrawal of prolactin from the casein-producing cells resulted in the loss of all four milk protein mRNAs. Subsequent addition of prolactin to the withdrawn cells caused a rapid accumulation of these mRNAs to prewithdrawal levels. Milk protein gene expression in this tumor cell subpopulation is modulated by prolactin (in the presence of insulin and hydrocortisone) in a similar manner to that observed in the normal mammary gland when these tumor cells are cultured on attached collagen gels.

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