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Gastaldi S.,Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment IRCC | Gastaldi S.,University of Turin | Gastaldi S.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Sassi F.,Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment IRCC | And 19 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2013

Basal-like breast cancer is an aggressive subtype of mammary carcinoma. Despite expressing basal markers, typical of mammary stem cells, this tumor has been proposed to originate from luminal progenitors, which are downstream of stem cells along the mammary epithelial hierarchy. This suggests that committed luminal progenitors may reacquire basal, stem-like characteristics, but the mechanisms that regulate this transition remain unclear. Using mouse models, we found that luminal progenitors express high levels of the Met receptor for hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), as compared with the other mammary epithelial sub-populations. Constitutive activation of Met led luminal progenitors to attain stem cell properties, including enhanced clonogenic activity in vitro and de novo ability to reconstitute mammary glands in repopulation assays in vivo. Moreover, in response to Met signaling, luminal progenitors gave rise to hyperplastic ductal morphogenesis and preferentially underwent basal lineage commitment at the expense of luminal cell-fate specification. Opposite and symmetric results were produced by systemic pharmacological inhibition of Met. Hence, Met signaling targets luminal progenitors for expansion, impairs their differentiation toward the mature luminal phenotype and enables their commitment toward the basal lineage. These results emphasize a critical role for Met in promoting deregulated proliferation and basal plasticity of normal luminal progenitors in the mammary gland, a complex of events that may be required for sustaining the functional and phenotypic properties of basal-like breast tumors. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Lu W.-Y.,Center for Regenerative Medicine | Bird T.G.,Center for Regenerative Medicine | Boulter L.,Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine | Tsuchiya A.,Niigata University | And 16 more authors.
Nature Cell Biology | Year: 2015

Hepatocytes and cholangiocytes self-renew following liver injury. Following severe injury hepatocytes are increasingly senescent, but whether hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) then contribute to liver regeneration is unclear. Here, we describe a mouse model where the E3 ubiquitin ligase Mdm2 is inducibly deleted in more than 98% of hepatocytes, causing apoptosis, necrosis and senescence with nearly all hepatocytes expressing p21. This results in florid HPC activation, which is necessary for survival, followed by complete, functional liver reconstitution. HPCs isolated from genetically normal mice, using cell surface markers, were highly expandable and phenotypically stable in vitro. These HPCs were transplanted into adult mouse livers where hepatocyte Mdm2 was repeatedly deleted, creating a non-competitive repopulation assay. Transplanted HPCs contributed significantly to restoration of liver parenchyma, regenerating hepatocytes and biliary epithelia, highlighting their in vivo lineage potency. HPCs are therefore a potential future alternative to hepatocyte or liver transplantation for liver disease. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Tornillo G.,European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute | Smalley M.J.,European Cancer Stem Cell Research Institute
Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia | Year: 2015

The mammary epithelium is a highly heterogenous and dynamic tissue that includes a range of cell types with varying levels of proliferative capacity and differentiation potential, from stem to committed progenitor and mature cells. Generation of mature cells through expansion and specification of immature precursors is driven by hormonal and local stimuli. Intriguingly, although circulating hormones can be directly sensed only by a subset of mammary cells, they also regulate the behaviour of cells lacking their cognate receptors through paracrine mechanisms. Thus, mapping the hormonal signalling network on to the emerging mammary cell hierarchy appears to be a difficult task. Nevertheless, a first step towards a better understanding is the characterization of the hormone receptor expression pattern across individual cell types in the mammary epithelium. Here we review the most relevant findings on the cellular distribution of hormone receptors in the mammary gland, taking into account differences between mice and humans, the methods employed to assess receptor expression as well as the variety of approaches used to resolve the mammary cell heterogeneity. © 2015, The Author(s).

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