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Title:Role of Cuzd1 in mammary gland development and tumorigenesis
Author(s):Anandan, Lavanya
Director of Research:Bagchi, Milan K.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Bagchi, Indrani C.; Katzenellenbogen, Benita S.; Kemper, Byron W.; Raetzman, Lori T.
Department / Program:Molecular & Integrative Physl
Discipline:Molecular & Integrative Physi
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):CUB and zona pellucida-like domain containing protein-1 (CUZD1)
mammary gland
breast cancer
Abstract:The mechanisms by which the pathways regulated by the steroid hormones and the epidermal growth factor (EGF) family control mammary development are unclear. We have identified the CUB and zona pellucida-like domain containing protein-1 (CUZD1) as a target of estrogen regulation in the mouse mammary epithelium. Mice lacking Cuzd1 exhibited a striking impairment in steroid-induced proliferation of mammary ductal and alveolar epithelium. Our study revealed that Cuzd1 controls the production of a subset of EGF family growth factors, neuregulin-1, epigen and epiregulin, which act via the ERBB receptors on the mammary epithelial cells. Interestingly, exposure of these cells to the EGF-like growth factors stimulated CUZD1 expression, triggered its nuclear translocation, and promoted CUZD1-dependent mitogenic activity. We postulated that a regulatory loop, involving the EGF-like growth factors and CUZD1, contributes to mammary epithelial proliferation, and that dysregulation of CUZD1 expression may induce tumorigenesis. Indeed, orthotopic injection of mammary epithelial cells overexpressing Cuzd1 into mammary glands of mice led to the development of malignant breast tumors, which metastasized to other tissues. Analysis of Cuzd1 expression in primary human breast tumors revealed a significantly elevated expression of this gene in tumors displaying a high level of estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) and ERBB signaling. Collectively, these findings suggested that uncontrolled expression of CUZD1, which is a unique integrator of steroid- and EGF family-induced growth pathways in normal mammary epithelium, leads to breast tumorigenesis. Designing therapeutics that target CUZD1 may offer a novel intervention strategy against breast tumor progression, invasion and metastasis.
Issue Date:2012-02-01
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Lavanya Anandan
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-02-01
Date Deposited:2011-12

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