Gene expression in the third dimension: The ECM-nucleus connection

Virginia A. Spencer, Ren Xu, Mina J. Bissell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Decades ago, we and others proposed that the dynamic interplay between a cell and its surrounding environment dictates cell phenotype and tissue structure. Whereas much has been discovered about the effects of extracellular matrix molecules on cell growth and tissue-specific gene expression, the nuclear mechanisms through which these molecules promote these physiological events remain unknown. Using mammary epithelial cells as a model, the purpose of this review is to discuss how the extracellular matrix influences nuclear structure and function in a three-dimensional context to promote epithelial morphogenesis and function in the mammary gland.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-71
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank Rana Mroue and Joni Mott for their constructive comments in the writing of this manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Biological and Environmental Research (contract no. DE-AC02-05CH1123), a Low Dose Radiation Program and a Distinguished Fellow Award from the Office of Health and Environmental Research Health Effects Division (contract no. 03-76SF00098) to MJB, the National Cancer Institute (awards R01CA064786, U54CA126552 and U54CA112970 to MJB and R01CA057621 to MJB and Zena Werb), the U.S. Department of Defense Medical and Materiel Command innovator award (contract no.W81XWH0810736 and W81XWH0510338) to MJB, and postdoctoral fellowships W81XWH0410581 to V.A.S and DAMD17-02-1-0441 to R.X., and a post-doctoral fellowship to V.A.S. from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Gene expression
  • Nuclear structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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