Gata-3 is an essential regulator of mammary-gland morphogenesis and luminal-cell differentiation

Marie Liesse Asselin-Labat, Kate D. Sutherland, Holly Barker, Richard Thomas, Mark Shackleton, Natasha C. Forrest, Lynne Hartley, Lorraine Robb, Frank G. Grosveld, Jacqueline van der Wees, Geoffrey J. Lindeman, Jane E. Visvader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

671 Scopus citations


The transcription factor Gata-3 is a defining marker of the 'luminal' subtypes of breast cancer. To gain insight into the role of Gata-3 in breast epithelial development and oncogenesis, we have explored its normal function within the mammary gland by conditionally deleting Gata-3 at different stages of development. We report that Gata-3 has essential roles in the morphogenesis of the mammary gland in both the embryo and adult. Through the discovery of a novel marker (β3-integrin) of luminal progenitor cells and their purification, we demonstrate that Gata-3 deficiency leads to an expansion of luminal progenitors and a concomitant block in differentiation. Remarkably, introduction of Gata-3 into a stem cell-enriched population induced maturation along the alveolar luminal lineage. These studies provide evidence for the existence of an epithelial hierarchy within the mammary gland and establish Gata-3 as a critical regulator of luminal differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-209
Number of pages9
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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