The bHLH/PAS transcription factor singleminded 2s promotes mammary gland lactogenic differentiation. Academic Article uri icon


  • We have previously demonstrated that the bHLH/PAS transcription factor, singleminded 2s (Sim2s), is required for proper mammary ductal morphogenesis and luminal epithelial differentiation. Furthermore, loss of Sim2s in breast cancer cells resulted in downregulation of epithelial markers and acquisition of a basal-like phenotype. The objective of this study was to further define the role of Sim2s in mammary differentiation. We found that Sim2s is developmentally regulated throughout mammary gland development with highest expression during lactation. Mammary glands from nulliparous mice expressing Sim2s driven by the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) long terminal repeat (LTR) promoter were morphologically indistinguishable from wild-type mice but displayed hallmarks of precocious lactogenic differentiation. These included elevated expression of the milk protein genes Wap and Csn2, and apical localization of the lactation marker Npt2b. Consistent with the in vivo results, Sim2s enhanced prolactin-mediated Csn2 expression in HC11 and CIT3 mouse mammary epithelial cells, and downregulation of Sim2s by shRNA in HC11 cells inhibited Csn2 expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analyses of the Csn2 gene found that Sim2s associates with the Csn2 promoter and re-ChIP experiments showed that Sim2s interacted with the RNA II polymerase (RNAPII) complex. Together, these data demonstrate, for the first time, that Sim2s is required for establishing and maintaining mammary gland differentiation.

published proceedings

  • Development

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Wellberg, E., Metz, R. P., Parker, C., & Porter, W. W.

citation count

  • 17

complete list of authors

  • Wellberg, Elizabeth||Metz, Richard P||Parker, Caitlin||Porter, Weston W

publication date

  • March 2010