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      Molecular mechanisms of epithelial–mesenchymal transition

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      Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology

      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          The transdifferentiation of epithelial cells into motile mesenchymal cells, a process known as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), is integral in development, wound healing and stem cell behaviour, and contributes pathologically to fibrosis and cancer progression. This switch in cell differentiation and behaviour is mediated by key transcription factors, including SNAIL, zinc-finger E-box-binding (ZEB) and basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, the functions of which are finely regulated at the transcriptional, translational and post-translational levels. The reprogramming of gene expression during EMT, as well as non-transcriptional changes, are initiated and controlled by signalling pathways that respond to extracellular cues. Among these, transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) family signalling has a predominant role; however, the convergence of signalling pathways is essential for EMT.

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          Most cited references 170

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          Opinion: migrating cancer stem cells - an integrated concept of malignant tumour progression.

          The dissemination of tumour cells is the prerequisite of metastases and is correlated with a loss of epithelial differentiation and the acquisition of a migratory phenotype, a hallmark of malignant tumour progression. A stepwise, irreversible accumulation of genetic alterations is considered to be the responsible driving force. But strikingly, metastases of most carcinomas recapitulate the organization of their primary tumours. Although current models explain distinct and important aspects of carcinogenesis, each alone can not explain the sum of the cellular changes apparent in human cancer progression. We suggest an extended, integrated model that is consistent with all aspects of human tumour progression - the 'migrating cancer stem (MCS)-cell' concept.
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            Dissecting direct reprogramming through integrative genomic analysis.

            Somatic cells can be reprogrammed to a pluripotent state through the ectopic expression of defined transcription factors. Understanding the mechanism and kinetics of this transformation may shed light on the nature of developmental potency and suggest strategies with improved efficiency or safety. Here we report an integrative genomic analysis of reprogramming of mouse fibroblasts and B lymphocytes. Lineage-committed cells show a complex response to the ectopic expression involving induction of genes downstream of individual reprogramming factors. Fully reprogrammed cells show gene expression and epigenetic states that are highly similar to embryonic stem cells. In contrast, stable partially reprogrammed cell lines show reactivation of a distinctive subset of stem-cell-related genes, incomplete repression of lineage-specifying transcription factors, and DNA hypermethylation at pluripotency-related loci. These observations suggest that some cells may become trapped in partially reprogrammed states owing to incomplete repression of transcription factors, and that DNA de-methylation is an inefficient step in the transition to pluripotency. We demonstrate that RNA inhibition of transcription factors can facilitate reprogramming, and that treatment with DNA methyltransferase inhibitors can improve the overall efficiency of the reprogramming process.
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              Life at the leading edge.

              Cell migration requires sustained forward movement of the plasma membrane at the cell's front or "leading edge." To date, researchers have uncovered four distinct ways of extending the membrane at the leading edge. In lamellipodia and filopodia, actin polymerization directly pushes the plasma membrane forward, whereas in invadopodia, actin polymerization couples with the extracellular delivery of matrix-degrading metalloproteases to clear a path for cells through the extracellular matrix. Membrane blebs drive the plasma membrane forward using a combination of actomyosin-based contractility and reversible detachment of the membrane from the cortical actin cytoskeleton. Each protrusion type requires the coordination of a wide spectrum of signaling molecules and regulators of cytoskeletal dynamics. In addition, these different protrusion methods likely act in concert to move cells through complex environments in vivo. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology
                Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1471-0072
                1471-0080
                March 2014
                February 21 2014
                March 2014
                : 15
                : 3
                : 178-196
                Article
                10.1038/nrm3758
                4240281
                24556840
                © 2014

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