Normal morphogenesis of epithelial tissues and progression of epithelial tumors

Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. Jan-Feb 2012;4(1):51-78. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.159. Epub 2011 Sep 2.


Epithelial cells organize into various tissue architectures that largely maintain their structure throughout the life of an organism. For decades, the morphogenesis of epithelial tissues has fascinated scientists at the interface of cell, developmental, and molecular biology. Systems biology offers ways to combine knowledge from these disciplines by building integrative models that are quantitative and predictive. Can such models be useful for gaining a deeper understanding of epithelial morphogenesis? Here, we take inventory of some recurring themes in epithelial morphogenesis that systems approaches could strive to capture. Predictive understanding of morphogenesis at the systems level would prove especially valuable for diseases such as cancer, where epithelial tissue architecture is profoundly disrupted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Carcinoma / metabolism
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Computer Simulation
  • Epithelium / growth & development*
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Morphogenesis*
  • Systems Biology


  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins