Regulation of mammary gland branching morphogenesis by EphA2 receptor tyrosine kinase.

Vaught D, Chen J, Brantley-Sieders DM
Mol Biol Cell. 2009 20 (10): 2572-81

PMID: 19321667 · PMCID: PMC2682598 · DOI:10.1091/mbc.e08-04-0378

Eph receptor tyrosine kinases, including EphA2, are expressed in the mammary gland. However, their role in mammary gland development remains poorly understood. Using EphA2-deficient animals, we demonstrate for the first time that EphA2 receptor function is required for mammary epithelial growth and branching morphogenesis. Loss of EphA2 decreased penetration of mammary epithelium into fat pad, reduced epithelial proliferation, and inhibited epithelial branching. These defects appear to be intrinsic to loss of EphA2 in epithelium, as transplantation of EphA2-deficient mammary tissue into wild-type recipient stroma recapitulated these defects. In addition, HGF-induced mammary epithelial branching morphogenesis was significantly reduced in EphA2-deficient cells relative to wild-type cells, which correlated with elevated basal RhoA activity. Moreover, inhibition of ROCK kinase activity in EphA2-deficient mammary epithelium rescued branching defects in primary three-dimensional cultures. These results suggest that EphA2 receptor acts as a positive regulator in mammary gland development, functioning downstream of HGF to regulate branching through inhibition of RhoA. Together, these data demonstrate a positive role for EphA2 during normal mammary epithelial proliferation and branching morphogenesis.

MeSH Terms (14)

Animals Apoptosis Cell Proliferation Ephrin-A1 Epithelial Cells Epithelium Hepatocyte Growth Factor Ligands Mammary Glands, Animal Mice Models, Biological Morphogenesis Receptor, EphA2 rhoA GTP-Binding Protein

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