Phenotypic and Molecular Alterations in the Mammary Tissue of R-Spondin1 Knock-Out Mice during Pregnancy

Sead Chadi, Jacqueline Polyte, Lucas Lefevre, Johan Castille, Aude Ehanno, Johann Laubier, Florence Jaffrézic, Fabienne Le Provost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


R-spondin1 (Rspo1) is a member of a secreted protein family which has pleiotropic functions in development and stem cell growth. Rspo1 knock-out mice are sex-reversed, but some remain sub-fertile, so they fail to nurse their pups. A lack of Rspo1 expression in the mammary gland results in an absence of duct side-branching development and defective alveolar formation. The aim of this study was to characterize the phenotypic and molecular alterations of mammary gland due to Rspo1 knock-out. Using the transcriptional profiling of mammary tissues, we identified misregulated genes in the mammary gland of Rspo1 knock-out mice during pregnancy. A stronger expression of mesenchymal markers was observed, without modifications to the structure of mammary epithelial tissue. Mammary epithelial cell immunohistochemical analysis revealed a persistence of virgin markers, which signify a delay in cell differentiation. Moreover, serial transplantation experiments showed that Rspo1 is associated with a regenerative potential of mammary epithelial cell control. Our finding also highlights the negatively regulated expression of Rspo1's partners, Lgr4 and RNF43, in the mammary gland during pregnancy. Moreover, we offer evidence that Tgf-β signalling is modified in the absence of Rspo1. Taken together, our results show an abrupt halt or delay to mammary development during pregnancy due to the loss of a further differentiated function.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0162566
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Early online date9 Sep 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


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