Control of Milk Protein Synthesis in the Marsupial Macropus eugenii: a Model System to Study Prolactin-Dependent Development
The lactational strategy adopted by marsupials is very different to that of eutherian mammals, in terms of the developmental changes in the composition of the milk during lactation and the hormonal profile associated with these changes. Most studies have focused on the dramatic changes in carbohydrate and fat in the milk with surprisingly little attention being directed to the control of the milk proteins. Studies presented in this chapter have focused on the mechanism of control of two critical stages of the lactation cycle in Macropus eugenii (see Fig.1.1); firstly, the transition from Phase 1 to Phase 2 as lactation is initiated (lactogenesis) and secondly, the transition from Phase 2 to Phase 3 with the accompanying changes in the qualitative and quantitative synthesis of milk These questions have been addressed using a mammary gland explant culture system in an attempt to equate what is known about the hormonal changes in the peripheral circulation at these times with the capacity of the mammary gland to synthesize specific milk proteins. In addition, and just as importantly, the value of the mammary gland of M. eugenii as an unique experimental model to assess questions of fundamental importance in biology will be discussed.
KeywordsMammary Gland Whey Protein Milk Protein Eutherian Mammal Prolactin Receptor
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