Alternative mammary oncogenic pathways are induced by D-type cyclins; MMTV-cyclin D3 transgenic mice develop squamous cell carcinoma

Oncogene. 2003 Jul 10;22(28):4425-33. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1206488.


The three human D-type cyclins, cyclin D1, D2 and D3 share the ability to bind to and activate cdk4 and 6. MMTV-cyclin D1 transgenic mice develop mainly adenocarcinoma, while MMTV-cyclin D2 mice show a lack of alveologenesis during pregnancy and only develop carcinoma at low frequency. The effect of cyclin D3 overexpression in mammary glands remains hitherto unknown. We generated MMTV-cyclin D3 transgenic mice and report here that they develop exclusively squamous cell carcinoma. We show that although cyclin D3 transgene expression was detected early in puberty, postnatal development and mammary gland proliferation were normal in virgin animals. In contrast, multiparous mice develop multiple foci of abnormal growth that correspond to various stages of squamous metaplasia. Therefore, our results support a role for cyclin D3 in squamous differentiation. In addition, we found that p16 expression during involution is abolished, while p27 expression increased in MMTV-cyclin D3 mice, two modifications that have been reported in the other MMTV-D-type cyclin transgenic models. Our observations indicate that despite biochemical redundancy in vitro and in vivo, D-type cyclins promote distinct oncogenic pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / etiology*
  • Cyclin D3
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16 / analysis
  • Cyclins / analysis
  • Cyclins / physiology*
  • Female
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / etiology*
  • Mammary Tumor Virus, Mouse*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microfilament Proteins / analysis
  • Muscle Proteins*


  • CCND3 protein, human
  • Ccnd3 protein, mouse
  • Cyclin D3
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitor p16
  • Cyclins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Tagln protein, mouse