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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Pathways Involved in Formation of Mammary Organoid Architecture Have Keys to Understanding Drug Resistance and to Discovery of Druggable Targets


Signals from the extracellular matrix (ECM) are received at the cell surface receptor, transmitted to the cytoskeletons, and transferred to the nucleus and chromatin for tissue- and context-specific gene expression. Cells, in return, modulate the cell shape and ECM, allowing for the maintenance of tissue homeostasis as well as for coevolution and adaptation to the environmental signals. We postulated the existence of dynamic and reciprocal interactions between the ECM and the nucleus more than three decades ago, but now these pathways have been proven experimentally thanks to the advances in imaging and cell/molecular biology techniques. In this review, we will introduce some of our recent work that has validated the critical roles of the three-dimensional (3D) tissue architecture in determining mammary biology, therapeutic response, and druggable targets. We describe a novel screen based on reversion of the malignant phenotype in 3D assays. We will also summarize our recent discoveries of the integration of feedback signaling for mammary acinar formation and phenotypic reversion of tumor cells in the LrECM. Lastly, we will introduce our exciting discovery of the physical linkages between the cell surface and cytofibers within a tunnel deep inside of the nucleus, enabling interaction with nuclear lamin and SUN proteins.

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