MMTV infectious cycle and the contribution of virus-encoded proteins to transformation of mammary tissue.

Department of Microbiology/Abramson Family Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania, 421 Curie Blvd., Philadelphia, PA 1914, USA.
Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia (Impact Factor: 5). 09/2008; 13(3):299-307. DOI: 10.1007/s10911-008-9090-8
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mouse mammary tumor virus has served as a major model for the study of breast cancer since its discovery 1920's as a milk-transmitted agent. Much is known about in vivo infection by this virus, which initially occurs in lymphocytes that then carry virus to mammary tissue. In addition to the virion proteins, MMTV encodes a number of accessory proteins that facilitate high level in vivo infection. High level infection of lymphoid and mammary epithelial cells ensures efficient passage of virus to the next generation. Since MMTV causes mammary tumors by insertional activation of oncogenes, which is thought to be a stochastic process, mammary epithelial cell transformation is a by-product of the infectious cycle. The envelope protein may also participate in transformation. Although there have been several reports of a similar virus in human breast cancer, the existence of a human MTV has not been definitely established.



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