Special Issue "New Insights into the Molecular Mechanism of Epithelial Plasticity in Cancer"

A special issue of Cancers (ISSN 2072-6694). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Cancer Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2022 | Viewed by 2896

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Angélica Figueroa
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Epithelial Plasticity and Metastasis Group, Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de A Coruña (INIBIC), Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de A Coruña (CHUAC), Sergas, Universidade da Coruña (UDC), 15006 A Coruña, Spain
Interests: Cancer, Epithelial plasticity, Metastasis, Drug resistance, Small-molecule inhibitors, E3 ubiquitin-ligase, Targeted therapy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Epithelial cell plasticity is a reversible program that refers to the ability of epithelial cells to dynamically switch between different phenotypic cellular states. This program has been highlighted during the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in tumour progression and metastasis. Tumour cells undergo EMT loose cell-cell and cell-extracellular matrix interactions, leading to cell migration and invasion. It has become evident that transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and post-translational events are critical regulators of the EMT. Moreover, in recent years, EMT has been associated to stemness and therapy resistance, critically representing one of the major challenges in oncology. Indeed, EMT has been proposed as a good therapeutic target for the designing of novel strategies against cancer. 

In this Special Issue, we focus on new molecular mechanisms implicated by the epithelial plasticity in cancer and novel therapeutic strategies against EMT to overcome drug resistance and metastasis.

Dr. Angélica Figueroa
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Cancers is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Cancer
  • Epithelial plasticity
  • Metastasis
  • Drug resistance
  • Stemness
  • Target therapy

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
The Quasimesenchymal Pancreatic Ductal Epithelial Cell Line PANC-1—A Useful Model to Study Clonal Heterogeneity and EMT Subtype Shifting
Cancers 2022, 14(9), 2057; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14092057 - 19 Apr 2022
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Abstract
Intratumoral heterogeneity (ITH) is an intrinsic feature of malignant tumors that eventually allows a subfraction of resistant cancer cells to clonally evolve and cause therapy failure or relapse. ITH, cellular plasticity and tumor progression are driven by epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the reverse [...] Read more.
Intratumoral heterogeneity (ITH) is an intrinsic feature of malignant tumors that eventually allows a subfraction of resistant cancer cells to clonally evolve and cause therapy failure or relapse. ITH, cellular plasticity and tumor progression are driven by epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and the reverse process, MET. During these developmental programs, epithelial (E) cells are successively converted to invasive mesenchymal (M) cells, or back to E cells, by passing through a series of intermediate E/M states, a phenomenon termed E–M plasticity (EMP). The induction of MET has clinical potential as it can block the initial EMT stages that favor tumor cell dissemination, while its inhibition can curb metastatic outgrowth at distant sites. In pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), cellular models with which to study EMP or MET induction are scarce. Here, we have generated single cell-derived clonal cultures of the quasimesenchymal PDAC-derived cell line, PANC-1, and found that these differ strongly with respect to cell morphology and EMT marker expression, allowing for their tentative classification as E, E/M or M. Interestingly, the different EMT phenotypes were found to segregate with differences in tumorigenic potential in vitro, as measured by colony forming and invasive activities, and in circadian clock function. Moreover, the individual clones the phenotypes of which remained stable upon prolonged culture also responded differently to treatment with transforming growth factor (TGF)β1 in regard to regulation of growth and individual TGFβ target genes, and to culture conditions that favour ductal-to-endocrine transdifferentiation as a more direct measure for cellular plasticity. Of note, stimulation with TGFβ1 induced a shift in parental PANC-1 cultures towards a more extreme M and invasive phenotype, while exposing the cells to a combination of the proinflammatory cytokines IFNγ, IL1β and TNFα (IIT) elicited a shift towards a more E and less invasive phenotype resembling a MET-like process. Finally, we show that the actions of TGFβ1 and IIT both converge on regulating the ratio of the small GTPase RAC1 and its splice isoform, RAC1b. Our data provide strong evidence for dynamic EMT–MET transitions and qualify this cell line as a useful model with which to study EMP. Full article
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Article
Loxl3 Promotes Melanoma Progression and Dissemination Influencing Cell Plasticity and Survival
Cancers 2022, 14(5), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14051200 - 25 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 511
Abstract
Malignant melanoma is a highly aggressive tumor causing most skin cancer-related deaths. Understanding the fundamental mechanisms responsible for melanoma progression and therapeutic evasion is still an unmet need for melanoma patients. Progression of skin melanoma and its dissemination to local or distant organs [...] Read more.
Malignant melanoma is a highly aggressive tumor causing most skin cancer-related deaths. Understanding the fundamental mechanisms responsible for melanoma progression and therapeutic evasion is still an unmet need for melanoma patients. Progression of skin melanoma and its dissemination to local or distant organs relies on phenotypic plasticity of melanoma cells, orchestrated by EMT-TFs and microphthalmia-associated TF (MITF). Recently, melanoma phenotypic switching has been proposed to uphold context-dependent intermediate cell states benefitting malignancy. LOXL3 (lysyl oxidase-like 3) promotes EMT and has a key role in human melanoma cell survival and maintenance of genomic integrity. To further understand the role of Loxl3 in melanoma, we generated a conditional Loxl3-knockout (KO) melanoma mouse model in the context of BrafV600E-activating mutation and Pten loss. Melanocyte-Loxl3 deletion increased melanoma latency, decreased tumor growth, and reduced lymph node metastatic dissemination. Complementary in vitro and in vivo studies in mouse melanoma cells confirmed Loxl3’s contribution to melanoma progression and metastasis, in part by modulating phenotypic switching through Snail1 and Prrx1 EMT-TFs. Importantly, a novel LOXL3-SNAIL1-PRRX1 axis was identified in human melanoma, plausibly relevant to melanoma cellular plasticity. These data reinforced the value of LOXL3 as a therapeutic target in melanoma. Full article
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Review

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Review
Regulation of Epithelial–Mesenchymal Plasticity by the E3 Ubiquitin-Ligases in Cancer
Cancers 2020, 12(11), 3093; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers12113093 - 23 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1053
Abstract
The epithelial–mesenchymal plasticity (EMP) is a process by which epithelial cells acquire the ability to dynamically switch between epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypic cellular states. Epithelial cell plasticity in the context of an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) confers increased cell motility, invasiveness and the ability [...] Read more.
The epithelial–mesenchymal plasticity (EMP) is a process by which epithelial cells acquire the ability to dynamically switch between epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypic cellular states. Epithelial cell plasticity in the context of an epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) confers increased cell motility, invasiveness and the ability to disseminate to distant sites and form metastasis. The modulation of molecularly defined targets involved in this process has become an attractive therapeutic strategy against cancer. Protein degradation carried out by ubiquitination has gained attention as it can selectively degrade proteins of interest. In the ubiquitination reaction, the E3 ubiquitin-ligases are responsible for the specific binding of ubiquitin to a small subset of target proteins, and are considered promising anticancer drug targets. In this review, we summarize the role of the E3 ubiquitin-ligases that control targeted protein degradation in cancer-EMT, and we highlight the potential use of the E3 ubiquitin-ligases as drug targets for the development of small-molecule drugs against cancer. Full article
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