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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Jun 22;107(25):11405-10. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0911186107. Epub 2010 Jun 4.

PMCA2 regulates apoptosis during mammary gland involution and predicts outcome in breast cancer.

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Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


After lactation, weaning causes mammary epithelial cell (MEC) apoptosis. MECs express the plasma membrane calcium-ATPase 2 (PMCA2), which transports calcium across the apical surface of the cells into milk. Here we show that PMCA2 is down-regulated early in mammary involution associated with changes in MEC shape. We demonstrate that loss of PMCA2 expression raises intracellular calcium levels and sensitizes MECs to apoptosis. In contrast, overexpression of PMCA2 in T47D breast cancer cells lowers intracellular calcium and protects them from apoptosis. Finally, we show that high PMCA2 expression in breast cancers is associated with poor outcome. We conclude that loss of PMCA2 expression at weaning triggers apoptosis by causing cellular calcium crisis. PMCA2 overexpression, on the other hand, may play a role in breast cancer progression by conferring resistance to apoptosis.

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