The Ets transcription factor Elf5 specifies mammary alveolar cell fate

Samantha R. Oakes, Matthew J. Naylor, Marie Liesse Asselin-Labat, Katrina D. Blazek, Margaret Gardiner-Garden, Heidi N. Hilton, Michael Kazlauskas, Melanie A. Pritchard, Lewis A. Chodosh, Peter L. Pfeffer, Geoffrey J. Lindeman, Jane E. Visvader, Christopher J. Ormandy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Scopus citations


Hormonal cues regulate mammary development, but the consequent transcriptional changes and cell fate decisions are largely undefined. We show that knockout of the prolactin-regulated Ets transcription factor Elf5 prevented formation of the secretory epithelium during pregnancy. Conversely, overexpression of Elf5 in an inducible transgenic model caused alveolar differentiation and milk secretion in virgin mice, disrupting ductal morphogenesis. CD61+ luminal progenitor cells accumulated in Elf5-deficient mammary glands and were diminished in glands with Elf5 overexpression. Thus Elf5 specifies the differentiation of CD61+ progenitors to establish the secretory alveolar lineage during pregnancy, providing a link between prolactin, transcriptional events, and alveolar development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-586
Number of pages6
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Alveolar
  • Cell fate
  • Differentiation
  • Elf5
  • Ets transcription factor
  • Mammary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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