April 26 2021
Lab: Guojun Sheng
Defining epithelial-mesenchymal transitions in animal development
Development (2021) 148 (8): dev198036
Over 50 years after its discovery in early chick embryos, the concept of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is now widely applied to morphogenetic studies in both physiological and pathological contexts. Indeed, the EMT field has witnessed exponential growth in recent years, driven primarily by a rapid expansion of cancer-oriented EMT research. This has led to EMT-based therapeutic interventions that bear the prospect of fighting cancer, and has given developmental biologists new impetus to investigate EMT phenomena more closely and to find suitable models to address emerging EMT-related questions. Here, and in the accompanying poster, I provide a brief summary of the current status of EMT research and give an overview of EMT models that have been used in developmental studies. I also highlight dynamic epithelialization and de-epithelialization events that are involved in many developmental processes and that should be considered to provide a broader perspective of EMT. Finally, I put forward a set of criteria to separate morphogenetic phenomena that are EMT-related from those that are not.
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