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Cancers 2017, 9(7), 77;

Epithelial-to-Pericyte Transition in Cancer

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610-3633, USA
Department of Pharmaceutics and Biomedical Sciences, California Health Sciences University, Clovis, CA 93612, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Joëlle Roche
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 23 June 2017 / Accepted: 30 June 2017 / Published: 4 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) in Cancer)
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During epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), cells lose epithelial characteristics and acquire mesenchymal properties. These two processes are genetically separable and governed by distinct transcriptional programs, rendering the EMT outputs highly heterogeneous. Our recent study shows that the mesenchymal products generated by EMT often express multiple pericyte markers, associate with and stabilize blood vessels to fuel tumor growth, thus phenotypically and functionally resembling pericytes. Therefore, some EMT events represent epithelial-to-pericyte transition (EPT). The serum response factor (SRF) plays key roles in both EMT and differentiation of pericytes, and may inherently confer the pericyte attributes on EMT cancer cells. By impacting their intratumoral location and cell surface receptor expression, EPT may enable cancer cells to receive and respond to angiocrine factors produced by the vascular niche, and develop therapy resistance. View Full-Text
Keywords: EMT; EPT; SRF; myocardin-related transcription factors (MRTF); pericyte; resistance; vascular niche; angiocrine factors EMT; EPT; SRF; myocardin-related transcription factors (MRTF); pericyte; resistance; vascular niche; angiocrine factors

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Lu, J.; Shenoy, A.K. Epithelial-to-Pericyte Transition in Cancer. Cancers 2017, 9, 77.

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