Dynamic Expression of Erbb Pathway Members during Early Mammary Gland Morphogenesis
Journal of Investigative Dermatology
Similar to other epithelial appendages, mammary anlagen progress from stratified epithelium through placode and bud stages. Embryonic mammary morphogenesis is elicited by a combination of local cell migration, adhesion changes and proliferation, and these same developmental processes impact breast cancer etiology. The Erbb signaling network plays important roles in postnatal mammary gland morphogenesis and carcinogenesis. Neuregulin3 (Nrg3), an Erbb family ligand, has recently been shown to be
... y been shown to be involved in the specification of mammary glands in mice. To further examine the possible involvement of other Erbb family members and their ligands in early mammary morphogenesis, we have characterized their expression patterns during this process. We used whole mount in situ hybridization to analyze the expression patterns of these genes at stages prior to and during mammary placode formation. Immunohistochemistry was used to examine expression patterns at later bud stages. The Neuregulin ligands, Nrg1, Nrg2, Nrg3, Nrg4 and the receptors, Erbb1, Erbb2, Erbb3, Erbb4, were expressed either at stages prior to morphological appearance of the mammary placode or from the time that the placode is first morphologically distinct through to later bud stages. The expression patterns presented here suggest that multiple members of this signaling network are potential mediators of early mammary morphogenesis.