What we can learn from embryos to understand the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition in tumor progression.
Bernardi, Y. and Strobl-Mazzulla, P. H.
Laboratory of Developmental Biology, Instituto Tecnologico de Chascomus (CONICET-UNSAM), Chascomus, Argentina.
Epithelial plasticity involved the terminal and transitional stages that occur during epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET), both are essential at different stages of early embryonic development that have been co-opted by cancer cells to undergo tumor metastasis. These processes are regulated at multiple instances, whereas the post-transcriptional regulation of key genes mediated by microRNAs is gaining major attention as a common and conserved pathway. In this review, we focus on discussing the latest findings of the cellular and molecular basis of the less characterized process of MET during embryonic development, with special attention to the role of microRNAs. Although we take in consideration the necessity of being cautious when extrapolating the obtained evidence, we propose some commonalities between early embryonic development and cancer progression that can shed light into our current understanding of this complex event and might aid in the design of specific therapeutic approaches.
Biochem J 478(9): 1809-1825 (2021)