P190A and p190B Rho GTPase activating proteins (GAPs) are essential genes that have distinct, but overlapping roles in the developing nervous system. Previous studies from our laboratory demonstrated that p190B is required for mammary gland morphogenesis, and we hypothesized that p190A might have a distinct role in the developing mammary gland. To test this hypothesis, we examined mammary gland development in p190A-deficient mice. P190A expression was detected by in situ hybridization in the developing E14.5day embryonic mammary bud and within the ducts, terminal end buds (TEBs), and surrounding stroma of the developing virgin mammary gland. In contrast to previous results with p190B, examination of p190A heterozygous mammary glands demonstrated that p190A deficiency disrupted TEB morphology, but did not significantly delay ductal outgrowth indicating haploinsufficiency for TEB development. To examine the effects of homozygous deletion of p190A, embryonic mammary buds were rescued by transplantation into the cleared fat pads of SCID/Beige mice. Complete loss of p190A function inhibited ductal outgrowth in comparison to wildtype transplants (51% vs. 94% fat pad filled). In addition, the transplantation take rate of p190A deficient whole gland transplants from E18.5 embryos was significantly reduced compared to wildtype transplants (31% vs. 90%, respectively). These results suggest that p190A function in both the epithelium and stroma is required for mammary gland development. Immunostaining for p63 demonstrated that the myoepithelial cell layer is disrupted in the p190A deficient glands, which may result from the defective cell adhesion between the cap and body cell layers detected in the TEBs. The number of estrogen- and progesterone receptor-positive cells, as well as the expression levels of these receptors was increased in p190A deficient outgrowths. These data suggest that p190A is required in both the epithelial and stromal compartments for ductal outgrowth and that it may play a role in mammary epithelial cell differentiation.
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