Impact of progesterone receptor on cell-fate decisions during mammary gland development

G. Shyamala, X. Yang, Robert Cardiff, E. Dale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Mammary epithelium contains lineage-limited progenitors that give rise to cells that form distinct morphological structures, ducts vs. lobules, depending on the endocrine status of the female. Progesterone signaling through progesterone receptor (PR) is essential for lobulo-alveolar development that accompanies pregnancy, but not for ductal growth accompanying puberty. PR exists in two molecular forms, A and B, and an imbalance in the native ratio of the two isoforms can lead to alterations in PR signaling. Indeed, as we reported previously, in transgenic mice carrying additional A form of PR, mammary development is abnormal, characterized by excessive lateral ductal branching. This suggests that alterations in PR signaling may have important consequences to mammary development, particularly with regard to ductal vs. alveolar growth. To test this further, we created transgenic mice carrying additional B form of PR and report that mammary development in these mice is also abnormal, characterized by inappropriate alveolar growth. More importantly, these mammary glands, on serial transplantation, undergo a premature arrest in ductal growth without any alteration in the potential for lobulo-alveolar growth. Such an arrest in ductal growth does not occur with transgenics carrying additional A form of PR. These studies, therefore, provide strong evidence to indicate that PR signaling may be of paramount importance for appropriate cell-fate decisions during normal mammary development, and also that this requires a regulated expression of the two isoforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3044-3049
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number7
StatePublished - Mar 28 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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