The transformation of a fertilized egg into a functional organism requires an intricate pattern of signaling within and between the cells of the growing animal. Cancer can result later in life when these same tools are co-opted by a cell in order to escape the normal restrictions on growth.
Our lab works to elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind breast-cancer metastasis. Metadherin (MTDH) plays a dual role in cancer metastasis and chemoresistance. A recent study published by members of the Kang lab has shown that this gene is overexpressed in greater than 40 percent of breast cancers and contributes to the poor clinical prognosis of these women. A transgenic mouse line was generated to study MTDH in greater detail. The production of an enzyme used to mark expression was placed under the control of the MTDH regulatory elements. This commonly used strategy allows the visualization of expression of a gene of interest.
Shown is an embryo that has been stained such that the blue coloration indicates areas where MTDH is expressed during embryonic development at 10.5 days after conception. Expression is seen in the brain and spine rudiments, limb buds, and the heart.