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Expression of Inappropriate Cadherins in Human Breast Carcinomas

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Annual rept. 15 Jul 1998-14 Jul 1999

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Cadherins are cell-cell adhesion proteins that have been shown to be important in the progression of various tumors. When the gene encoding E-cadherin is mutated in a tumor cell such that it is non- functional, the resulting tumor becomes invasive and the prognosis is unfavorable. In addition, when there are inactivating mutations in the genes encoding the catenins, proteins that serve to hook the transmembrane cadherin up to the cytoskeleton, the result is similar. The cadherins comprise a large family of proteins and it is expression of the various family members that allows cells to recognize one another as like or different. This recognition promotes cell segregation events during the morphogenesis of tissues in a developing embryo. In our laboratory, we have shown that, on occasion, tumor cells turn on the expression of an inappropriate cadherin, that is, one that is different from the surrounding cells. Our hypothesis is that expression of an inappropriate cadherin allows the cells to sort out from their surrounding neighbors and invade the surrounding tissues, thus promoting tumor invasion. Our goal in this project is to determine if this is indeed the case in some breast carcinomas.

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  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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