Application of the D492 Cell Lines to Explore Breast Morphogenesis, EMT and Cancer Progression in 3D Culture

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8 Citations (Scopus)


The human female breast gland is composed of branching epithelial ducts that extend from the nipple towards the terminal duct lobular units (TDLUs), which are the functional, milk-producing units of the gland and the site of origin of most breast cancers. The epithelium of ducts and TDLUs is composed of an inner layer of polarized luminal epithelial cells and an outer layer of contractile myoepithelial cells, separated from the vascular-rich stroma by a basement membrane. The luminal- and myoepithelial cells share an origin and in recent years, there has been increasing understanding of how these cell types interact and how they contribute to breast cancer. Accumulating evidence links stem/or progenitor cells in the mammary/breast gland to breast cancer. In that regard, much knowledge has been gained from studies in mice due to specific strains that have allowed for gene knock out/in studies and lineage tracing of cellular fates. However, there is a large histologic difference between the human female breast gland and the mouse mammary gland that necessitates that research needs to be done on human material where primary cultures are important due to their close relation to the tissue of origin. However, due to difficulties of long-term cultures and lack of access to material, human cell lines are of great importance to bridge the gap between studies on mouse mammary gland and human primary breast cells. In this review, we describe D492, a breast epithelial progenitor cell line that can generate both luminal- and myoepithelial cells in culture, and in 3D culture it forms branching ducts similar to TDLUs. We have applied D492 and its daughter cell lines to explore cellular and molecular mechanisms of branching morphogenesis and cellular plasticity including EMT and MET. In addition to discussing the application of D492 in studying normal morphogenesis, we will also discuss how this cell line has been used to study breast cancer progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, The Author(s).

Other keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Breast morphogenesis
  • Breast stem cells
  • D492
  • EMT
  • HER2
  • MET
  • microRNA


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