Molecular mechanisms of Snail/ZEB-induced EMT

"Molecular mechanisms of Snail/ZEB-induced EMT"

Cancer is a disease of gene expression. Through studies of breast and lung cancer we are working to understand general principles of gene misregulation in cancer cells with particular emphasis on gene transcription and microRNAs. Vast majority of human tumors are of epithelial origin, e.g. they derive from cells normally highly organized in specialized epithelial layers. At the same time, most cancer-related deaths occur due to tumor recurrence and spread to distant organs (metastasis), which are tightly linked to acquisition by cancer cells of mesenchymal properties such as increased motility, invasion and resistance to chemotherapy. The metastasis stage of cancer is associated with the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Normally activated only during early embryonic development, the EMT program is highjacked by cancer cells during evolution of individual tumors. EMT is activated by a handful or transcription factors referred to as the EMT master regulators, such as Snail and ZEB. 

The goals of our research are to identify transcriptional network involved in activation of EMT during cancer metastasis. This knowledge will help to develop future therapeutic approaches in treating cancer and prevention of metastasis.

Relevant Publications

1. Pacurari M, Addison JB, Bondalapati N, Wan YW, Luo D, Qian Y, Castranova V, Ivanov AV, Guo NL. The microRNA-200 family targets multiple non-small cell lung cancer prognostic markers in H1299 cells and BEAS-2B cells. International Journal of Oncology. 2013 Aug; 43(2):548-60.

2. Cieply B, Riley P, Pifer P, Widmeyer J, Addison JB, Ivanov AV, Denvir J, Frisch SM. Suppression of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition by grainyhead-like-2. Cancer Research. 2012 May 1; 72(9):2440-53.