The extracellular matrix locally regulates asynchronous concurrent lactation in tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii)

Wanyonyi, Stephen S. and Lefevre, Christophe and Sharp, Julie A. and Nicholas, Kevin R. (2013) The extracellular matrix locally regulates asynchronous concurrent lactation in tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii). Matrix Biology, 32 (6). pp. 342-351. ISSN 0945-053X


Asynchronous concurrent lactation (ACL) is an extreme lactation strategy in macropod marsupials including the tammar wallaby, that may hold the key to understanding local control of mammary epithelial cell function. Marsupials have a short gestation and a long lactation consisting of three phases; P2A, P2B and P3, representing early, mid and late lactation respectively and characterised by profound changes in milk composition. A lactating tammar is able to concurrently produce phase 2A and 3 milk from adjacent glands in order to feed a young newborn and an older sibling at heel. Physiological effectors of ACL remain unknown and in this study the extracellular matrix (ECM) is investigated for its role in switching mammary phenotypes between phases of tammar wallaby lactation. Using the level of expression of the genes for the phase specific markers tELP, tWAP, and tLLP-B representing phases 2A, 2B and 3 respectively we show for the first time that tammar wallaby mammary epithelial cells (WallMECs) extracted from P2B acquire P3 phenotype when cultured on P3 ECM. Similarly P2A cells acquire P2B phenotype when cultured on P2B ECM. We further demonstrate that changes in phase phenotype correlate with phase-specific changes in ECM composition. This study shows that progressive changes in ECM composition in individual mammary glands provide a local regulatory mechanism for milk protein gene expression thereby enabling the mammary glands to lactate independently.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2017 02:55
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 06:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: extracellular matrix; lactation; mammary epithelial cells; milk protein genes; neonatal development
Fields of Research (2008): 11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1116 Medical Physiology > 111601 Cell Physiology
06 Biological Sciences > 0601 Biochemistry and Cell Biology > 060106 Cellular Interactions (incl. Adhesion, Matrix, Cell Wall)
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1116 Medical Physiology > 111603 Systems Physiology
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
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