Molecular Mechanisms of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Mar;15(3):178-96. doi: 10.1038/nrm3758.

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.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Movement
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / genetics
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological*
  • RNA / genetics
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism

Substances

  • Transcription Factors
  • RNA