Cancer Microenvironment

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 29–38

Regulation of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition by Transmission of Mechanical Stress through Epithelial Tissues

  • Nikolce Gjorevski
  • Eline Boghaert
  • Celeste M. Nelson
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s12307-011-0076-5

Cite this article as:
Gjorevski, N., Boghaert, E. & Nelson, C.M. Cancer Microenvironment (2012) 5: 29. doi:10.1007/s12307-011-0076-5

Abstract

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a phenotypic shift wherein epithelial cells lose or loosen attachments to their neighbors and assume a mesenchymal-like morphology. EMT drives a variety of developmental processes, but may also be adopted by tumor cells during neoplastic progression. EMT is regulated by both biochemical and physical signals from the microenvironment, including mechanical stress, which is increasingly recognized to play a major role in development and disease progression. Biological systems generate, transmit and concentrate mechanical stress into spatial patterns; these gradients in mechanical stress may serve to spatially pattern developmental and pathologic EMTs. Here we review how epithelial tissues generate and respond to mechanical stress gradients, and highlight the mechanisms by which mechanical stress regulates and patterns EMT.

Keywords

Force Contractility MRTF Morphogenesis 

Abbreviations

ECM

Extracellular matrix

EMT

Epithelial-mesenchymal transition

FAK

Focal adhesion kinase

MET

Mesenchymal-epithelial transition

MLC

Myosin light chain

MLCK

Myosin light chain kinase

MMP

Matrix metalloproteinase

MRTF

Myocardin-related transcription factor

SRF

Serum response factor

ROCK

Rho-associated kinase

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

TGFβ

Transforming growth factor-beta

2D

Two-dimensional

3D

Three-dimensional

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikolce Gjorevski
    • 1
  • Eline Boghaert
    • 1
  • Celeste M. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Chemical & Biological EngineeringPrinceton UniversityPrincetonUSA

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