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Extracellular Matrix And Hormones Transcriptionally Regulate Bovine Beta-casein 5' Sequences In Stably Transfected Mouse Mammary Cells.

C. Schmidhauser, M. Bissell, C. A. Myers, G. Casperson
Published 1990 · Biology, Medicine

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Milk protein regulation involves synergistic action of lactogenic hormones and extracellular matrix (ECM). It is well established that substratum has a dramatic effect on morphology and function of mammary cells. The molecular mechanisms that regulate the ECM- and hormone-dependent gene expression, however, have not been resolved. To address this question, a subpopulation (designated CID 9) of the mouse mammary epithelial cell strain COMMA-1D has been developed in which more than 35% of the cells express beta-casein, form alveoli-like structures when plated onto a reconstituted basement membrane, and secrete beta-casein unidirectionally into a lumen. These cells were stably transfected with a series of chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) fusion genes to study transcriptional regulation of the bovine beta-casein gene. The expression of CAT in these lines demonstrated a striking matrix and hormone dependency (greater than 150-fold induction in some cases). This regulation occurred primarily at the transcriptional level and was dependent on the length of the 5' flanking region of the beta-casein promotor. Both matrix and hormonal control of transcription occurred within at least the first 1790 base pairs upstream and/or 42 base pairs downstream of the transcriptional initiation site. The ECM effect was independent of glucocorticoid stimulation. However, prolactin was essential and hydrocortisone further increased CAT expression. Endogenous beta-casein expression in these lines was similar to that of the parent CID 9 cells. Our data indicate the existence of matrix-dependent elements that regulate transcription.
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