Signature and Mechanism of the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition
Annual summary rept. 15 Apr 2008-14 Apr 2009
MASSACHUSETTS INST OF TECH CAMBRIDGE
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The Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition EMT is a conserved developmental process that is thought to be reactivated during the metastasis of epithelial cancers such as breast cancer. This study seeks to identify genes commonly regulated in the EMT, and identify key regulators of the process. From the successful candidate regulators, a core genetic circuit that controls the EMT will be constructed. The relevance of this circuit, or portions of it, to cancer metastasis, particularly in breast cancer models, will be investigated. An EMT core gene signature of approximately 1000 genes was generated, from which the transcription factor Zeb1 emerged as a potential key regulator of the EMT. Zeb1 demonstrated a much stronger EMT-inducing ability than previously known factors. The relationship between known EMT-inducing factors has not previously been studied, so this represents a novel finding. Efforts are underway to construct the genetic circuit stemming from Zeb1.
- Medicine and Medical Research