4.1B is a member of the protein 4.1 superfamily of proteins that link transmembrane proteins to the actin cytoskeleton. The 4.1B gene localizes to chromosome 18p11.3, which undergoes loss of heterozygosity in mammary tumors. Here, we examine the expression of 4.1B in murine mammary epithelium and find that 4.1B is dramatically upregulated in mammary epithelial cells during pregnancy when there is extensive cell proliferation. In contrast, 4.1B is not expressed in virgin, lactating, or involuting mammary epithelium. To examine the consequence of 4.1B loss on mammary epithelial cell proliferation, we analysed mammary glands in 4.1B-null mice. 4.1B loss results in a significant increase in mammary epithelial cell proliferation during pregnancy, but has no effect on mammary epithelial cell proliferation, in virgin or involuting mice. Furthermore, we show that 4.1B inhibits the proliferation of mammary epithelial cell lines by inducing a G1 cell cycle arrest, characterized by decreased cyclin A expression and reduced Rb phosphorylation, and accompanied by reduced erbB2 phosphorylation. This cell cycle arrest does not involve alterations in the activities of MAPK, JNK, or Akt. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that 4.1B regulates mammary epithelial cell proliferation during pregnancy and suggest that its loss may influence mammary carcinoma pathogenesis in multiparous women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6502-6515
Number of pages14
Issue number43
StatePublished - Sep 29 2005


  • Mammary carcinoma
  • Mammary epithelial cells
  • Pregnancy
  • Protein 4.1B
  • erbB2


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