Send to

Choose Destination
Oncogene. 1998 Feb 12;16(6):737-46.

Signal transduction pathways activated and required for mammary carcinogenesis in response to specific oncogenes.

Author information

Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


We have assessed five signal transduction pathways to determine the role each might play in the malignant transformation of mammary epithelium initiated by neu, heregulin/NDF, TGFalpha, v-Ha-ras and c-myc in transgenic mice. The study involves a molecular and pharmacologic assessment of Erk/MAP kinase, Jnk/SAP kinase, PI 3-kinase, protein kinase C, and the Src-related kinases Lck and Fyn. Our results indicate that oncogenes capable of transforming mammary gland epithelium activate and require specific signal transduction pathways. For example, mammary tumors initiated by neu, v-Ha-ras and c-myc have high levels of active Erk/MAP kinase and their anchorage independent growth is strongly inhibited by PD098059, an inhibitor of Mek/ MAP kinase kinase. By contrast, Erk/MAP kinase activity is weak in tumors initiated by TFGalpha and heregulin/NDF and the corresponding cell lines are not growth inhibited by PD098059. Similarly, PI 3-kinase is strongly activated in neu, TGFalpha and heregulin/NDF initiated tumor cell lines, but not in c-myc or v-Ha-ras initiated tumor cell lines. The anchorage independent growth of all these tumor cell lines are, however, inhibited by the specific PI 3-kinase inhibitor LY294001. Further illustrating this oncogene-based specificity, PP1, a specific inhibitor of the Src-like kinases, Lck and Fyn, blocks anchorage-independent cell growth only in the TGFalpha initiated mammary tumor cell line. Taken together with additional observations, we conclude that certain oncogenes reliably require the recruitment/activation of specific signal transduction pathways. Such specific relationships between the initiating oncogene and a required pathway may reflect a direct activating effect or the parallel activation of a pathway that is a necessary oncogenic collaborator for transformation in the mammary gland. The work points to a molecular basis for targeting therapy when an initiating oncogene can be implicated; for example, because of amplification, increased expression, genetic alteration, or heritable characteristics.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center