Tenascin-C inhibits extracellular matrix-dependent gene expression in mammary epithelial cells. Localization of active regions using recombinant tenascin fragments.
The physiological role of tenascin in vivo has remained obscure. Although tenascin is regulated in a stage and tissue-dependent manner, knock-out mice appear normal. When tenascin expression was examined in the normal adult mouse mammary gland, little or none was present during lactation, when epithelial cells actively synthesize and secrete milk proteins in an extracellular matrix/lactogenic hormone-dependent manner. In contrast, tenascin was prominently expressed during involution, a stage characterized by the degradation of the extracellular matrix and the subsequent loss of milk production. Studies with mammary cell lines indicated that tenascin expression was high on plastic, but was suppressed in the presence of the laminin-rich, Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm (EHS) tumour biomatrix. When exogenous tenascin was added together with EHS to mammary epithelial cells, beta-casein protein synthesis and steady-state mRNA levels were inhibited in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, this inhibition by tenascin could be segregated from its effects on cell morphology. Using two beta-casein promoter constructs attached to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene we showed that tenascin selectively suppressed extracellular matrix/prolactin-dependent transcription of the beta-casein gene in three-dimensional cultures. Finally, we mapped the active regions within the fibronectin type III repeat region of the tenascin molecule that are capable of inhibiting beta-casein protein synthesis. Our data are consistent with a model where both the loss of a laminin-rich basement membrane by extracellular matrix-degrading enzymes and the induction of tenascin contribute to the loss of tissue-specific gene expression and thus the involuting process.
Jones, PL; Boudreau, N; Myers, CA; Erickson, HP; Bissell, MJ
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