MAMMARY GLAND BIOLOGY AND MILK SECRETION
The major interest of my laboratory is the regulation of the development of the normal mammary gland. We are currently involved in three areas of investigation:
- The regulation of lipid synthesis in the mammary gland. Here our focus is the mechanisms by which triglyceride is synthesized and secreted into milk. We are particularly interested in the role of the transcription factor SREBP-1 in regulating fatty acid synthesis and whether it plays a role in regulating lipid synthesis in breast cancer cells. We are using transgenic mice with defects in this pathway and dietary lipid to dissect molecular mechanisms of action.
- Molecular mechanisms by which progesterone withdrawal activates milk secretion during the transition from pregnancy to lactation. We are currently using microarray analysis to identify candidate regulatory genes that coordinate the cellular response to progesterone withdrawal resulting in the secretion of copious quantities of milk. We have identified three candidate genes, IGFBP5, Wnt 5B and TGF-beta3 to mediate the progesterone response. We plan to use transgenic and KO mice mice to elucidate the mechanism by which these agents act.
- Analysis of tight junction regulation in the mammary alveolar cell. We are currently defining the role of the claudins, transmembrane molecules thought to be important in cell-cell adhesion mediated at the tight junction, in the closure of tight junctions during the transition from pregnancy to lactation.
Since the pregnancy-lactation developmental cycle protects against breast cancer we believe the results of our studies are relevant both to the normal function of the mammary gland and its progression into breast cancer. Much of our work is carried out in animals, but cell culture models are also under study.
Projects within all these areas of investigation are available to trainees.
ARRAY DATA: JOURNAL OF MAMMARY GLAND BIOLOGY AND NEOPLASIA, 2003
1. Presumptive Stromal Genes.
2. Chip Quality Control Data.