Free Access
Reprod. Nutr. Dev.
Volume 46, Number 5, September-October 2006
5th annual INRA-Meeting: Mammary gland and milk
Page(s) 549 - 556
Published online 23 September 2006
Reprod. Nutr. Dev. 46 (2006) 549-556
DOI: 10.1051/rnd:2006026

MicroRNA involvement in mammary gland development and breast cancer

Licia Silveri, Gaëlle Tilly, Jean-Luc Vilotte and Fabienne Le Provost

Laboratoire de Génétique biochimique et Cytogénétique, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, 78350 Jouy-en-Josas, France

(Published online 23 September 2006)

Abstract - MicroRNA (miRNA) are small non-coding RNA that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression. In humans, miRNA genes may account for 2 to 3% of the total number of genes. Although the biological functions of most miRNA are unknown, their importance for development, cell proliferation, cell death, and morphogenesis has been demonstrated in several species. One could thus speculate that miRNA should be involved in the regulation of one of the organs that can undergo cycles of cell division, differentiation and dedifferentiation in the adult, the mammary gland. In this paper we summarise several reports dealing with the potential implication of miRNA in the mammary gland, most of them focussed on pathological situations, such as the appearance of breast cancer. These data suggest an implication of miRNA on mammary gland biology. However, direct evidence of this is still lacking. Expression profile analysis of miRNA during the normal mammary gland development could help in addressing this question and in identifying miRNA potentially involved. To this aim, we undertook such an analysis on mouse mammary gland at different stages (virgin, pregnancy, lactation and involution) and will present our preliminary results.

Key words: gene regulation / mouse / RNA interference / mammary tissue

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© INRA, EDP Sciences 2006