Publication in detail

Oncogene 2014 Jul 21;0. doi: 10.1038/onc.2014.205. [Epub ahead of print]

Actin filament-associated protein 1 is required for cSrc activity and secretory activation in the lactating mammary gland.

Cunnick, JM; Kim, S; Hadsell, J; Collins, S; Cerra, C; Reiser, P; Flynn, DC; Cho, Y

Department of Basic Sciences, The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, PA, USA. Graduate School of Medicine, The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, PA, USA. Fortis Institute Scranton, Scranton, PA, USA. Department of Pathology, Pocono Health Syst

Actin filament-associated protein 1 (AFAP1) is an adaptor protein of cSrc that binds to filamentous actin and regulates the activity of this tyrosine kinase to affect changes to the organization of the actin cytoskeleton. In breast and prostate cancer cells, AFAP1 has been shown to regulate cellular responses requiring actin cytoskeletal changes such as adhesion, invadopodia formation and invasion. However, a normal physiologic role for AFAP1 has remained elusive. In this study, we generated an AFAP1 knockout mouse model that establishes a novel physiologic role for AFAP1 in lactation. Specifically, these animals displayed a defect in lactation that resulted in an inability to nurse efficiently. Histologically, the mammary glands of the lactating knockout mice were distinguished by the accumulation of large cytoplasmic lipid droplets in the alveolar epithelial cells. There was a reduction in lipid synthesis and the expression of lipogenic genes without a corresponding reduction in the production of β-casein, a milk protein. Furthermore, these defects were associated with histologic and biochemical signs of precocious involution. This study also demonstrated that AFAP1 responds to prolactin, a lactogenic hormone, by forming a complex with cSrc and becoming tyrosine phosphorylated. Taken together, these observations pointed to a defect in secretory activation. Certain characteristics of this phenotype mirrored the defect in secretory activation in the cSrc knockout mouse, but most importantly, the activity of cSrc in the mammary gland was reduced during early lactation in the AFAP1-null mouse and the localization of active cSrc at the apical surface of luminal epithelial cells during lactation was selectively lost in the absence of AFAP1. These data define, for the first time, the requirement of AFAP1 for the spatial and temporal regulation of cSrc activity in the normal breast, specifically for milk production.

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