IRF6 in development and disease: A mediator of quiescence and differentiation

Caleb M. Bailey, Mary J.C. Hendrix

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Post utero development of the mammary gland is a complex developmental process characterized by states of rapid cell proliferation (branching morphogenesis) followed by functional differentiation (lactation) and the consequent apoptosis (involution) of the secretory mammary epithelial cell. This process is cyclical, such that involution returns the mammary gland to a near-virgin-like state capable of responding to morphogenic cues with each consecutive pregnancy. Importantly, many of the regulatory processes which oversee mammary gland development are corrupted or other-wise compromised during the development of breast cancer. For example, Interferon Regulatory Factor 6 (IRF6) is a novel protein with growth inhibitory properties that was initially identified in mammary epithelial cells through its interaction with maspin, a known tumor suppressor in normal breast tissue. Recent findings from our laboratory suggest that IRF6 functions synergistically with maspin to regulate mammary epithelial cell differentiation by acting on the cell cycle. This perspective focuses on the possible involvement of IRF6 in promoting differentiation by regulating exit from the cell cycle and entry into the G(0) phase of cellular quiescence, and how these new findings shed light on normal mammary gland development and the initiation and progression of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1925-1930
Number of pages6
JournalCell Cycle
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008


  • Breast cancer
  • Cell differentiation
  • IRF6
  • Mammary gland
  • Maspin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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