Signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 and 3 (Stat5 and Stat3) control pregnancy-mediated mammary development and involution-dependent remodeling, respectively. Suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (Socs3) has been implicated in the modulation of both Stat3 and Stat5 activity. To explore the biology of Socs3 in mammary tissue, the gene was deleted using Cre-mediated recombination. Deletion of the Socs3 gene from mammary stem or early progenitor cells did not grossly alter pregnancy-mediated mammary development but resulted in impaired lactation due to attenuated proliferation. Loss of Socs3 from differentiated luminal cells did not interfere with glandular function during lactation, but resulted in accelerated tissue remodeling upon weaning. Loss of Socs3 led to enhanced and precocious Stat3 activation. Thus, Socs3 serves as a modulator of Stat3 activity to ensure controlled proliferation and apoptosis in pregnancy and involution, respectively.
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