ErbB4/HER4: Role in Mammary Gland Development, Differentiation and Growth Inhibition

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Abstract

The ErbB receptor tyrosine kinase family has often been associated with increased growth of breast epithelial cells, as well as malignant transformation and progression. In contrast, ErbB4/HER4 exhibits unique attributes from a two step proteolytic cleavage which releases an 80 kilodalton, nuclear localizing, tyrosine kinase to a signal transduction mechanism that slows growth and stimulates differentiation of breast cells. This review provides an overview of ErbB4/HER4 in growth and differentiation of the mammary epithelium, including its physiologic role in development, the contrasting growth inhibition/tumor suppression and growth acceleration of distinct ErbB4/HER4 isoforms and a description of the unique cell cycle regulated pattern of nuclear HER4 ubiquitination and destruction.

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