The mammary gland consists of a highly branched tubular epithelium surrounded by a complex mesenchymal stroma. Epimorphin is an extracellular protein that is expressed by mammary mesenchymal cells that directs epithelial morphogenesis. Depending upon the context of presentation - polar versus apolar - epimorphin can selectively direct two key processes of tubulogenesis: branching morphogenesis (processes involved in tubule initiation and extension) and luminal morphogenesis (required for enlargement of tubule caliber). Here, we outline the fundamentals of mammary gland development and describe the function of epimorphin in these processes. We conclude with a review of recent studies that suggest similar morphogenic roles for epimorphin in other glandular organs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology