Full-term pregnancy early in life results in a permanent reduction in lifetime breast cancer risk in women. Parous rats and mice are also refractory to chemical carcinogenesis. Therefore, investigation of the differences between mammary glands from virgin and parous rats would provide valuable information regarding the protective effects of early full-term pregnancy. In this report, we examined the gene expression patterns in mammary glands from virgin and parous Lewis rats. Using differential display technology, a novel 4.2 kb cDNA, designated rat mammary tumor-1 (RMT-1) was isolated. Northern blot analysis of RMT-1 showed that RMT-1 expression was higher in the pre-pubertal and pubertal stages during rat mammary gland development while it was down-regulated in mammary glands from mature virgin and parous rats. RMT-1 expression was highest in rat mammary cancers compared with either the mammary glands of virgin or parous rats. At the Northern blot sensitivity level, RMT-1 expression was found only in the mammary gland. Northern blot analysis also showed that the expression of this gene was found in 74% of N-methyl-nitrosourea (MNU)-induced mammary cancers while it was not found in MNU-induced cancers from other organs. The examination of the RMT-1 gene structure revealed that it consists of five exons spanning 5.9 kb. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization, the gene was localized on rat chromosome 1 band q 43-51. The present data show that there is a correlation between high RMT-1 expression and rat mammary carcinogenesis or decreased RMT-1 expression and parity associated refractoriness to chemically induced mammary carcinogenesis. However, whether or not RMT-1 gene has a functional role in these processes remains to be investigated.
- Expression patterns
- Rat mammary tumour-1 gene