Helix-Loop-Helix Proteins in Mammary Gland Development and Breast Cancer

Pierre Yves Desprez, Tomoki Sumida, Jean Philippe Coppé

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) family of transcription factors functions in the coordinated regulation of gene expression, cell lineage commitment, and cell differentiation in most mammalian tissues. Helix-loop-helix Id (Inhibitor of DNA binding) proteins are distinct from bHLH transcription factors in that they lack the basic domain necessary for DNA binding. Id proteins thus function as dominant negative regulators of bHLH transcription factors. The inhibition of bHLH factor activity by forced constitutive expression of Id proteins is closely associated with the inhibition of differentiation in a number of different cell types, including mammary epithelial cells. Moreover, recent literature suggests important roles of HLH proteins in many normal and transformed tissues, including mammary gland. Therefore, future directions for prognosis or therapeutic treatments of breast cancer may be able to exploit bHLH and Id genes as useful molecular targets. The purpose of this review is to summarize the evidence implicating HLH proteins in the regulation of normal and transformed mammary epithelial cell phenotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-239
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Helix-Loop-Helix Proteins in Mammary Gland Development and Breast Cancer'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this