This image is a miniaturized and simplified version of a mouse mammary gland grown in the laboratory — which may hold clues to how a normal breast develops.
From the Upstate laboratory of cell and developmental biologist Christopher Turner, PhD, doctoral student Weiyi Xu studies a protein called paxillin. It plays a role in mammary gland development and in breast tumor progression. Paxillin helps the mammary gland ducts branch, polarize and penetrate, which is important for future milk production.
This image shows branching that takes place as part of that mammary gland development.
When scientists completely “knock out” paxillin in laboratory mice, lethal problems develop in the mammals’ vital organs.
This article appears in the spring 2018 issue of Upstate Healthmagazine.