Proteomic analysis of mouse mammary terminal end buds identifies axonal growth cone proteins

Proteomics. 2004 Jun;4(6):1802-10. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200300699.


Ductal morphogenesis in the mouse mammary gland occurs mainly postnatally and is driven by specialized structures at the ends of the developing ducts, the terminal end buds (TEBs), which later regress once ductal growth is complete. To identify proteins that are specifically associated with migration of TEBs we developed a novel method of isolating TEBs, which eliminated the mammary stroma. The protein expression profile of the TEBs was then compared with that of isolates taken from the 4th inguinal mammary gland of adult virgin mice using two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry (MS) analysis (matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization and quadrupole time of flight). Following construction of an integrated protein expression database, 44 protein features which showed differential expression levels between the two sets were chosen for MS analysis. Of these, 24 gave protein annotations whereas the other 20 produced unidentified peptides. Fourteen unequivocal proteins were identified from these 24, whereas the remaining 10 matched more than one protein within a single 2-D gel feature. Several of the identified proteins were associated with the cytoskeleton and have previously been reported in axonal growth cones, suggesting that they may influence cell shape and motility within the advancing TEBs, in a similar fashion to migrating axons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / chemistry*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Female
  • Growth Cones / chemistry*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / chemistry*
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Proteins / analysis*
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Proteome / analysis*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Proteins
  • Proteome
  • Keratins