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Paracrine-rescued lobulogenesis in chimeric outgrowths comprising progesterone-receptor-null mammary epithelium and redirected wild-type testicular cells.

Bruno R.D., Boulanger C.A., Rosenfield S.M., Anderson L.H., Lydon J.P., Smith G.H.

We have previously shown that non-mammary and tumorigenic cells can respond to the signals of the mammary niche and alter their cell fate to that of mammary epithelial progenitor cells. Here we tested the hypothesis that paracrine signals from mammary epithelial cells expressing progesterone receptor (PR) are dispensable for redirection of testicular cells, and that re-directed wild-type testicular-derived mammary cells can rescue lobulogenesis of PR-null mammary epithelium by paracrine signaling during pregnancy. We injected PR-null epithelial cells mixed with testicular cells from wild-type adult male mice into cleared fat-pads of recipient mice. The testicular cells were redirected in vivo to mammary epithelial cell fate during regeneration of the mammary epithelium, and persisted in second-generation outgrowths. In the process, the redirected testicular cells rescued the developmentally deficient PR-null cells, signaling them through the paracrine factor RANKL to produce alveolar secretory structures during pregnancy. This is the first demonstration that paracrine signaling required for alveolar development is not required for cellular reprogramming in the mammary gland, and that reprogrammed testicular cells can provide paracrine signals to the surrounding mammary epithelium.

J. Cell. Sci. 127:27-32(2014) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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