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Special Issue "Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Biochemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Monica Fedele

CNR—Institute of Experimental Endocrinology and Oncology, 80131 Naples, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: PATZ1; HMGA; chromatin; gene regulation; cancer; biomarkers; animal models; cancer cells; transgenic mice; knockout mice; breast cancer; glioblastoma; thyroid cancer; pituitary adenomas; EMT; cancer stem cells
Guest Editor
Prof. G. Manfioletti

Department of Life Science, Università degli Studi di Trieste, Trieste, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: high mobility group A (HMGA) proteins; chromatin; regulation of gene expression; protein-protein interactions; post-translational modifications (PTMs); epithelial-mesenchymal transition; cancer; tumor microenvironment; development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Epithelial-Mesenchymal transition (EMT), a biological process that allows an epithelial cell to assume a mesenchymal phenotype, including enhanced migratory capacity, invasiveness, elevated resistance to apoptosis, stem-like features, and increased production of ECM components, occur during specific steps of embryogenesis and organ development leading to final differentiation. Due to its plasticity and reversibility, terminally differentiated epithelium can transdifferentiate and change its phenotype through EMT. This process can also be activated in pathological situation, such as tissue injury and repair or neoplastic transformation. Indeed, it is now well recognized that EMT constitutes the first step for the invasiveness and metastatic dissemination of epithelial cancer cells. Moreover, acquisition of mesenchymal features in non-epithelial cancers, such as glioblastomas, has been associated with invasiveness and aggressiveness of the tumor, together with a worse prognosis of the patients.

The EMT program is initiated by different molecular processes, including activation of transcriptional factors, expression of specific cell-surface proteins, reorganization and expression of cytoskeletal proteins, production of ECM-degrading enzymes, and changes in the expression of microRNAs. There are both endogenous cell autonomous and exogenous non-cell autonomous signals occurring in the process, including pathways orchestrated by TGF-b, Notch, Wnt, Hedgehog, and receptor tyrosine kinases, as well as the urokinase plasminogen activator system, the secretome of associated fibroblasts, macrophages, cancer stem cells and cancer cells, and exosomes with their cargo of microRNAs.

However, despite the intense investigation of the last years, relatively little is known about how all these components are integrated and participate in the same process, and how the mesenchymal state is maintained. Deep knowledge of these aspects will help to design potential therapeutic approaches that could exploit the plasticity of this process to reverse the metastatic phenotype of many cancers. Papers related to any aspect of EMT will be considered for this Special issue.

Prof. Dr. Monica Fedele
Prof. Dr. Guidalberto Manfioletti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • EMT
  • cancer progression
  • embryogenesis
  • tissue injury
  • cell motility
  • invasion
  • metastasis
  • stemness

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
β-Catenin/Smad3 Interaction Regulates Transforming Growth Factor-β-Induced Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition in the Lens
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(9), 2078; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20092078
Received: 20 March 2019 / Revised: 23 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 27 April 2019
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Abstract
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Although surgery is a successful method to restore vision loss due to cataracts, post-surgical complications can occur, such as secondary cataracts, also known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO). PCO arises when lens epithelial cells (LEC) [...] Read more.
Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. Although surgery is a successful method to restore vision loss due to cataracts, post-surgical complications can occur, such as secondary cataracts, also known as posterior capsular opacification (PCO). PCO arises when lens epithelial cells (LEC) are left behind in the capsular bag following surgery and are induced to undergo epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Following EMT, LEC morphology and phenotype are altered leading to a loss of transparency and vision. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β-induced signaling through both canonical, TGF-β/Smad, and non-canonical, β-catenin/Wnt and Rho/ROCK/MRTF-A, pathways have been shown to be involved in lens EMT, and thus PCO. However, the interactions between these signaling pathways in the lens have not been thoroughly explored. In the current study we use rat LEC explants as an ex vivo model, to examine the interplay between three TGF-β-mediated pathways using α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) as a molecular marker for EMT. We show that Smad3 inhibition via SIS3 prevents nuclear translocation of β-catenin and MRTF-A, and α-SMA expression, suggesting a key role of Smad3 in regulation of MRTF-A and β-catenin nuclear transport in LECs. Further, we demonstrate that inhibition of β-catenin/CBP interaction by ICG-001 decreased the amount of phosphorylated Smad3 upon TGF-β stimulation in addition to significantly decreasing the expression levels of TGF-β receptors, TBRII and TBRI. Overall, our findings demonstrate interdependence between the canonical and non-canonical TGF-β-mediated signaling pathways controlling EMT in the lens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessArticle
ER Stress is Involved in Epithelial-To-Mesenchymal Transition of Alveolar Epithelial Cells Exposed to a Hypoxic Microenvironment
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(6), 1299; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20061299
Received: 15 February 2019 / Revised: 1 March 2019 / Accepted: 7 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
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Abstract
Background: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive and fatal interstitial lung disease of unknown origin. Alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) play an important role in the fibrotic process as they undergo sustained endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and may acquire a mesenchymal phenotype [...] Read more.
Background: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a chronic, progressive and fatal interstitial lung disease of unknown origin. Alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) play an important role in the fibrotic process as they undergo sustained endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and may acquire a mesenchymal phenotype through epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT), two phenomena that could be induced by localized alveolar hypoxia. Here we investigated the potential links between hypoxia, ER stress and EMT in AECs. Methods: ER stress and EMT markers were assessed by immunohistochemistry, western blot and qPCR analysis, both in vivo in rat lungs exposed to normoxia or hypoxia (equivalent to 8% O2) for 48 h, and in vitro in primary rat AECs exposed to normoxia or hypoxia (1.5% O2) for 2–6 days. Results: Hypoxia induced expression of mesenchymal markers, pro-EMT transcription factors, and the activation of ER stress markers both in vivo in rat lungs, and in vitro in AECs. In vitro, pharmacological inhibition of ER stress by 4-PBA limited hypoxia-induced EMT. Calcium chelation or hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) inhibition also prevented EMT induction under hypoxic condition. Conclusions: Hypoxia and intracellular calcium are both involved in EMT induction of AECs, mainly through the activation of ER stress and HIF signaling pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessArticle
PARP-1/2 Inhibitor Olaparib Prevents or Partially Reverts EMT Induced by TGF-β in NMuMG Cells
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(3), 518; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030518
Received: 29 December 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 21 January 2019 / Published: 26 January 2019
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Abstract
Poly- adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-ribose (PAR) is a polymer synthesized as a posttranslational modification by some poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs), namely PARP-1, PARP-2, tankyrase-1, and tankyrase-2 (TNKS-1/2). PARP-1 is nuclear and has also been detected in extracellular vesicles. PARP-2 and TNKS-1/2 are distributed in [...] Read more.
Poly- adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-ribose (PAR) is a polymer synthesized as a posttranslational modification by some poly (ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs), namely PARP-1, PARP-2, tankyrase-1, and tankyrase-2 (TNKS-1/2). PARP-1 is nuclear and has also been detected in extracellular vesicles. PARP-2 and TNKS-1/2 are distributed in nuclei and cytoplasm. PARP or PAR alterations have been described in tumors, and in particular by influencing the Epithelial- Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), which influences cell migration and drug resistance in cancer cells. Pro-EMT and anti-EMT effects of PARP-1 have been reported while whether PAR changes occur specifically during EMT is currently unknown. The PARP-1/2 inhibitor Olaparib (OLA) is approved by FDA to treat certain patients harboring cancers with impaired homologous recombination. Here, we studied PAR changes and OLA effects on EMT. Total and nuclear PAR increased in EMT while PAR belts were disassembled. OLA prevented EMT, according to: (i) molecular markers evaluated by immuno-cytofluorescence/image quantification, Western blots, and RNA quantitation, (ii) morphological changes expressed as anisotropy, and (iii) migration capacity in the scratch assay. OLA also partially reversed EMT. OLA might work through unconventional mechanisms of action (different from synthetic lethality), even in non-BRCA (breast cancer 1 gene) mutated cancers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessArticle
Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition in Human Mesothelial Cells Exposed to Asbestos Fibers: Role of TGF-β as Mediator of Malignant Mesothelioma Development or Metastasis via EMT Event
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(1), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20010150
Received: 1 December 2018 / Revised: 24 December 2018 / Accepted: 27 December 2018 / Published: 3 January 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2490 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Asbestos exposure increases the risk of asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma (MM). Both fibrosis and cancer have been correlated with the Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)—an event involved in fibrotic development and cancer progression. During EMT, epithelial cells acquire a mesenchymal phenotype by modulating [...] Read more.
Asbestos exposure increases the risk of asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma (MM). Both fibrosis and cancer have been correlated with the Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)—an event involved in fibrotic development and cancer progression. During EMT, epithelial cells acquire a mesenchymal phenotype by modulating some proteins. Different factors can induce EMT, but Transforming Growth Factor β (TGF-β) plays a crucial role in promoting EMT. In this work, we verified if EMT could be associated with MM development. We explored EMT in human mesothelial cells (MeT-5A) exposed to chrysotile asbestos: we demonstrated that asbestos induces EMT in MeT-5A cells by downregulating epithelial markers E-cadherin, β-catenin, and occludin, and contemporarily, by upregulating mesenchymal markers fibronectin, α-SMA, and vimentin, thus promoting EMT. In these cells, this mechanism is mediated by increased TGF-β secretion, which in turn downregulates E-cadherin and increases fibronectin. These events are reverted in the presence of TGF-β antibody, via a Small Mother Against Decapentaplegic (SMAD)-dependent pathway and its downstream effectors, such as Zinc finger protein SNAI1 (SNAIL-1), Twist-related protein (Twist), and Zinc Finger E-Box Binding Homeobox 1 (ZEB-1), which downregulate the E-cadherin gene. Since SNAIL-1, Twist, and ZEB-1 have been shown to be overexpressed in MM, these genes could be considered possible predictive or diagnostic markers of MM development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessArticle
Biological Aggressiveness of Subclinical No-Mass Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) Can Be Reflected by the Expression Profiles of Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition Triggers
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(12), 3941; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19123941
Received: 14 November 2018 / Revised: 3 December 2018 / Accepted: 6 December 2018 / Published: 7 December 2018
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Abstract
Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMTs) have been recently implicated in the process of cancer progression. The aim of this study was to assess how the preoperative expression patterns of EMT biomarkers correlate with the risk of postoperative invasion in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) found [...] Read more.
Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMTs) have been recently implicated in the process of cancer progression. The aim of this study was to assess how the preoperative expression patterns of EMT biomarkers correlate with the risk of postoperative invasion in ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) found on stereotactic breast biopsies. N-cadherin, Snail1, and secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC) immunoreactivity was observed in 8%, 62%, and 38% of tumors, respectively. Snail1 and SPARC expressions were significantly related to N-cadherin expression and to each other. The postoperative upgrading rate was associated with a positive preoperative expression of all biomarkers. Significance of Snail1 and SPARC persisted in multivariate analysis, but the impact of SPARC on invasion was more significant. When these two EMT triggers were considered together, the risk of invasion did not significantly differ between the subtypes of DCIS with single positive expression (SPARC−/Snail1+ vs. SPARC+/Snail1−). However, it was significantly lower in single-positive DCIS when compared to lesions of a double-positive profile (SPARC+/Snail1+). Moreover, there were no cases in the double-negative DCIS (SPARC−/Snail1−), with foci of infiltrating cancer found postoperatively in residual postbiopsy lesions. In contrast, DCIS with a combined high SPARC and Snail1 expression (intermediate or strong) had an invasive component in 66–100% of tumors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessArticle
Chalcone Derivatives 4′-Amino-1-Naphthyl-Chalcone (D14) and 4′-Amino-4-Methyl-1-Naphthyl-Chalcone (D15) Suppress Migration and Invasion of Osteosarcoma Cells Mediated by p53 Regulating EMT-Related Genes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(9), 2838; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19092838
Received: 2 July 2018 / Revised: 4 August 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 19 September 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (7183 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Osteosarcoma (OS) is a primary malignant bone tumor that mainly affects children, adolescents, and young adults. The inhibition of metastasis is a main strategy of OS therapy since the development of metastatic disease due to drug resistance remains the most important cause of [...] Read more.
Osteosarcoma (OS) is a primary malignant bone tumor that mainly affects children, adolescents, and young adults. The inhibition of metastasis is a main strategy of OS therapy since the development of metastatic disease due to drug resistance remains the most important cause of death from this cancer. Considering the severe side effects of current OS chemotherapy, the identification of anti-metastatic drugs with reduced toxicity is of great interest. Chalcones are polyphenols with a basic structure consisting of an α-, β-unsaturated carbonyl system linking two aryl rings. These compounds exhibit anticancer activity against a variety of tumor cell lines through multiple mechanisms, including the regulation of the tumor-suppressor protein p53 and its target genes. An important process regulated by p53 is epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which facilitates tumor metastasis by conferring migratory and invasive properties to cancer cells. The activation of p53 can revert EMT and reduce migration and invasion. This study aimed to examine the inhibitory effects of two 4′-aminochalcones on the migration/invasion of the U2OS (p53+/+) and SAOS-2 (p53−/−) OS cell lines as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms. Cell viability was examined by MTT assay. Transwell assays were used to evaluate the migratory and invasive ability of the cells. The two 4′-aminochalcones showed low capacity to inhibit the viability of OS cells independent of p53 status, but preferentially suppressed the migration of U2OS cells and of a SAOS-2 cell line expressing p53. Invasion was strongly inhibited by both chalcones independent of p53 status. RT-PCR, zymography, and Western blot were used to study the expression of matrix metalloproteinases and EMT markers after treatment with the chalcones. The results indicated that the 4′-aminochalcone-induced antimigratory and anti-invasive effects are potentially associated with the inhibition of extracellular matrix (ECM) enzymatic degradation in OS cells and with the modulation of EMT genes. These effects probably result from the induced increase of p53 protein expression by the two chalcones. In conclusion, chalcones D14 and D15 have potential anti-metastatic activity mediated by p53 that can be exploited for OS treatment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessArticle
Bornyl cis-4-Hydroxycinnamate Suppresses Cell Metastasis of Melanoma through FAK/PI3K/Akt/mTOR and MAPK Signaling Pathways and Inhibition of the Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(8), 2152; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19082152
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 18 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Bornyl cis-4-hydroxycinnamate, a bioactive compound isolated from Piper betle stems, has the potential for use as an anti-cancer agent. This study investigated the effects of bornyl cis-4-hydroxycinnamate on cell migration and invasion in melanoma cells. Cell migration and invasion were compared [...] Read more.
Bornyl cis-4-hydroxycinnamate, a bioactive compound isolated from Piper betle stems, has the potential for use as an anti-cancer agent. This study investigated the effects of bornyl cis-4-hydroxycinnamate on cell migration and invasion in melanoma cells. Cell migration and invasion were compared in A2058 and A375 melanoma cell lines treated with/without bornyl cis-4-hydroxycinnamate (1–6 µM). To examine whether bornyl cis-4-hydroxycinnamate has a potential anti-metastatic effect on melanoma cells, cell migration and invasion assays were performed using a Boyden chamber assay and a transwell chamber in A2058 and A375 cells. Gelatin zymography was employed to determine the enzyme activities of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Cell lysates were collected for Western blotting analysis of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, MMP-9 and tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase-1/2 (TIMP-1/2), as well as key molecules in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), focal adhesion kinase (FAK)/ phosphatidylinositide-3 kinases (PI3K)/Akt/ mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (GRB2) signaling pathways. Our results demonstrated that bornyl cis-4-hydroxycinnamate is a potentially useful agent that inhibits melanoma cell migration and invasion, and altered melanoma cell metastasis by reducing MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression through inhibition of the FAK/PI3K/Akt/mTOR, MAPK, and GRB2 signaling pathways. Moreover, bornyl cis-4-hydroxycinnamate inhibited the process of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in A2058 and A375 melanoma cells. These findings suggested that bornyl cis-4-hydroxycinnamate has potential as a chemotherapeutic agent, and warrants further investigation for its use in the management of human melanoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessArticle
TFF1 Promotes EMT-Like Changes through an Auto-Induction Mechanism
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(7), 2018; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19072018
Received: 20 May 2018 / Revised: 29 June 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 11 July 2018
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Abstract
Trefoil factor 1 (TFF1) is a small secreted protein expressed in the gastrointestinal tract where, together with the other two members of its family, it plays an essential role in mucosal protection and repair against injury. The molecular mechanisms involved in the protective [...] Read more.
Trefoil factor 1 (TFF1) is a small secreted protein expressed in the gastrointestinal tract where, together with the other two members of its family, it plays an essential role in mucosal protection and repair against injury. The molecular mechanisms involved in the protective function of all three TFF proteins are not fully elucidated. In this paper, we investigated the role of TFF1 in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) events. The effects of TFF1 on cellular models in normoxia and/or hypoxia were evaluated by western blot, immunofluorescence, qRT-PCR and trans-well invasion assays. Luciferase reporter assays were used to assess the existence of an auto-regulatory mechanism of TFF1. The methylation status of TFF1 promoter was measured by high-resolution melting (HRM) analysis. We demonstrate a TFF1 auto-induction mechanism with the identification of a specific responsive element located between −583 and −212 bp of its promoter. Our results suggest that TFF1 can regulate its own expression in normoxic, as well as in hypoxic, conditions acting synergistically with the hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1α) pathway. Functionally, this auto-induction mechanism seems to promote cell invasion and EMT-like modifications in vitro. Additionally, exogenously added human recombinant TFF1 protein was sufficient to observe similar effects. Together, these findings suggest that the hypoxic conditions, which can be induced by gastric injury, promote TFF1 up-regulation, strengthened by an auto-induction mechanism, and that the trefoil peptide takes part in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition events eventually triggered to repair the damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessArticle
Isoviolanthin Extracted from Dendrobium officinale Reverses TGF-β1-Mediated Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Cells via Deactivating the TGF-β/Smad and PI3K/Akt/mTOR Signaling Pathways
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(6), 1556; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19061556
Received: 2 April 2018 / Revised: 9 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (5920 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Dendrobium officinale is a precious medicinal herb and health food, and its pharmacological actions have been studied and proved. However, the mechanisms by which its active flavonoid glycosides affect epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, such as HepG2 and Bel-7402 cells, [...] Read more.
Dendrobium officinale is a precious medicinal herb and health food, and its pharmacological actions have been studied and proved. However, the mechanisms by which its active flavonoid glycosides affect epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells, such as HepG2 and Bel-7402 cells, have not been previously investigated. Therefore, we investigated whether isoviolanthin extracted from the leaves of Dendrobium officinale inhibits transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1-induced EMT in HCC cells. In this study, the physicochemical properties and structure of isoviolanthin were identified by HPLC, UV, ESIMS, and NMR and were compared with literature data. HCC cells were pretreated with 10 ng/mL TGF-β1 to induce EMT and then treated with isoviolanthin. Herein, we found that isoviolanthin exhibited no cytotoxic effects on normal liver LO2 cells but notably reduced the migratory and invasive capacities of TGF-β1-treated HCC cells. Additionally, isoviolanthin treatment decreased matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and -9 levels, and remarkably altered the expression of EMT markers via regulating the TGF-β/Smad and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathways; Western blot analysis confirmed that the effects of the inhibitors SB431542 and LY294002 were consistent with those of isoviolanthin. These findings demonstrate the potential of isoviolanthin as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of advanced-stage metastatic HCC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessArticle
Sinomenine Hydrochloride Inhibits the Metastasis of Human Glioblastoma Cells by Suppressing the Expression of Matrix Metalloproteinase-2/-9 and Reversing the Endogenous and Exogenous Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(3), 844; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19030844
Received: 21 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (11660 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As shown in our previous study, sinomenine hydrochloride (SH), the major bioactive alkaloid isolated from Sinomenium acutum Rehd. et Wils. (Fam. Menispermaceae), initiates the autophagy-mediated death of human glioblastoma cells by generating reactive oxygen species and activating the autophagy-lysosome pathway. However, its [...] Read more.
As shown in our previous study, sinomenine hydrochloride (SH), the major bioactive alkaloid isolated from Sinomenium acutum Rehd. et Wils. (Fam. Menispermaceae), initiates the autophagy-mediated death of human glioblastoma cells by generating reactive oxygen species and activating the autophagy-lysosome pathway. However, its effects on the migration and invasion of human glioblastoma cells have not yet been elucidated. Therefore, human glioblastoma U87 and SF767 cells were treated with SH (0.125 and 0.25 mM) for 24 h, and cell migration and invasion were assessed using scratch wound healing, migration and invasion assays. SH promoted G0/G1 phase arrest, inhibited the migration and invasion of the two cell lines, suppressed the activation of nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) and the expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2/-9, triggered endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, reversed the exogenous epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) induced by the inflammatory microenvironment and the endogenous EMT. Additionally, NFκB p65 overexpression blocked the SH-mediated inhibitory effects on MMP-2/-9 expression and cell invasion. SH-induced autophagy was reduced in CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) homologous protein (CHOP) or autophagy-related 5 (ATG5)-silenced human glioblastoma cells and cells treated with 4-phenylbutyric acid (4-PBA) or 3-methyladenine (3-MA), as shown by the decreased levels of the microtubule-associated protein light chain 3B (LC3B)-II and autophagic vacuoles (AVs) stained with monodansylcadaverine (MDC), respectively. Moreover, knockdown of CHOP or ATG5 and treatment with 4-PBA or 3-MA abolished the SH-mediated inhibition of mesenchymal markers (vimentin, Snail and Slug) expression and cell invasion, respectively. Importantly, SH also regulated the above related pathways in nude mice. Based on these findings, SH inhibited cell proliferation by inducing cell cycle arrest, and attenuated the metastasis of U87 and SF767 cells by suppressing MMP-2/-9 expression and reversing the endogenous and exogenous EMT in vitro and/or in vivo. Thus, SH might be a new potential anti-metastasis agent for the treatment of human glioblastoma. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Proneural-Mesenchymal Transition: Phenotypic Plasticity to Acquire Multitherapy Resistance in Glioblastoma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(11), 2746; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20112746
Received: 3 May 2019 / Revised: 31 May 2019 / Accepted: 2 June 2019 / Published: 4 June 2019
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Abstract
Glioblastoma (GBM) is an extremely aggressive tumor of the central nervous system, with a prognosis of 12–15 months and just 3–5% of survival over 5 years. This is mainly because most patients suffer recurrence after treatment that currently consists in maximal resection followed [...] Read more.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is an extremely aggressive tumor of the central nervous system, with a prognosis of 12–15 months and just 3–5% of survival over 5 years. This is mainly because most patients suffer recurrence after treatment that currently consists in maximal resection followed by radio- and chemotherapy with temozolomide. The recurrent tumor shows a more aggressive behavior due to a phenotypic shift toward the mesenchymal subtype. Proneural-mesenchymal transition (PMT) may represent for GBM the equivalent of epithelial–mesenchymal transition associated with other aggressive cancers. In this review we frame this process in the high degree of phenotypic inter- and intra-tumor heterogeneity of GBM, which exists in different subtypes, each one characterized by further phenotypic variability in its stem-cell compartment. Under the selective pressure of different treatment agents PMT is induced. The mechanisms involved, as well as the significance of such event in the acquisition of a multitherapy resistance phenotype, are taken in consideration for future perspectives in new anti-GBM therapeutic options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessReview
Cross-Talk between Inflammatory Mediators and the Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition Process in the Development of Thyroid Carcinoma
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(10), 2466; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20102466
Received: 16 April 2019 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 18 May 2019
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Abstract
There is strong association between inflammatory processes and their main metabolic mediators, such as leptin, adiponectin secretion, and low/high-density lipoproteins, with the cancer risk and aggressive behavior of solid tumors. In this scenario, cancer cells (CCs) and cancer stem cells (CSCs) have important [...] Read more.
There is strong association between inflammatory processes and their main metabolic mediators, such as leptin, adiponectin secretion, and low/high-density lipoproteins, with the cancer risk and aggressive behavior of solid tumors. In this scenario, cancer cells (CCs) and cancer stem cells (CSCs) have important roles. These cellular populations, which come from differentiated cells and progenitor stem cells, have increased metabolic requirements when it comes to maintaining or expanding the tumors, and they serve as links to some inflammatory mediators. Although the molecular mechanisms that are involved in these associations remain unclear, the two following cellular pathways have been suggested: 1) the mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET) process, which permits the differentiation of adult stem cells throughout the acquisition of cell polarity and the adhesion to epithelia, as well to new cellular lineages (CSCs); and, 2) a reverse process, termed the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), where, in pathophysiological conditions (tissue injury, inflammatory process, and oxidative stress), the differentiated cells can acquire a multipotent stem cell-like phenotype. The molecular mechanisms that regulate both EMT and MET are complex and poorly understood. Especially, in the thyroid gland, little is known regarding MET/EMT and the role of CCs or CSCs, providing an exciting, new area of knowledge to be investigated. This article reviews the progress to date in research on the role of inflammatory mediators and metabolic reprogramming during the carcinogenesis process of the thyroid gland and the EMT pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessReview
Role of Metabolic Reprogramming in Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(8), 2042; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20082042
Received: 21 March 2019 / Revised: 8 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 25 April 2019
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Abstract
Activation of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is thought to be an essential step for cancer metastasis. Tumor cells undergo EMT in response to a diverse range of extra- and intracellular stimulants. Recently, it was reported that metabolic shifts control EMT progression and induce tumor [...] Read more.
Activation of epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is thought to be an essential step for cancer metastasis. Tumor cells undergo EMT in response to a diverse range of extra- and intracellular stimulants. Recently, it was reported that metabolic shifts control EMT progression and induce tumor aggressiveness. In this review, we summarize the involvement of altered glucose, lipid, and amino acid metabolic enzyme expression and the underlying molecular mechanisms in EMT induction in tumor cells. Moreover, we propose that metabolic regulation through gene-specific or pharmacological inhibition may suppress EMT and this treatment strategy may be applied to prevent tumor progression and improve anti-tumor therapeutic efficacy. This review presents evidence for the importance of metabolic changes in tumor progression and emphasizes the need for further studies to better understand tumor metabolism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessReview
Long Noncoding RNA and Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition in Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(8), 1924; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20081924
Received: 28 March 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1399 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a multistep process that allows epithelial cells to acquire mesenchymal properties. Fundamental in the early stages of embryonic development, this process is aberrantly activated in aggressive cancerous cells to gain motility and invasion capacity, thus promoting metastatic phenotypes. For [...] Read more.
Epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a multistep process that allows epithelial cells to acquire mesenchymal properties. Fundamental in the early stages of embryonic development, this process is aberrantly activated in aggressive cancerous cells to gain motility and invasion capacity, thus promoting metastatic phenotypes. For this reason, EMT is a central topic in cancer research and its regulation by a plethora of mechanisms has been reported. Recently, genomic sequencing and functional genomic studies deepened our knowledge on the fundamental regulatory role of noncoding DNA. A large part of the genome is transcribed in an impressive number of noncoding RNAs. Among these, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been reported to control several biological processes affecting gene expression at multiple levels from transcription to protein localization and stability. Up to now, more than 8000 lncRNAs were discovered as selectively expressed in cancer cells. Their elevated number and high expression specificity candidate these molecules as a valuable source of biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets. Rising evidence currently highlights a relevant function of lncRNAs on EMT regulation defining a new layer of involvement of these molecules in cancer biology. In this review we aim to summarize the findings on the role of lncRNAs on EMT regulation and to discuss their prospective potential value as biomarkers and therapeutic targets in cancer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessReview
Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and Metastasis under the Control of Transforming Growth Factor β
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3672; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113672
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1810 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Metastasis of tumor cells from primary sites of malignancy to neighboring stromal tissue or distant localities entails in several instances, but not in every case, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT weakens the strong adhesion forces between differentiated epithelial cells so that carcinoma cells [...] Read more.
Metastasis of tumor cells from primary sites of malignancy to neighboring stromal tissue or distant localities entails in several instances, but not in every case, the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT weakens the strong adhesion forces between differentiated epithelial cells so that carcinoma cells can achieve solitary or collective motility, which makes the EMT an intuitive mechanism for the initiation of tumor metastasis. EMT initiates after primary oncogenic events lead to secondary secretion of cytokines. The interaction between tumor-secreted cytokines and oncogenic stimuli facilitates EMT progression. A classic case of this mechanism is the cooperation between oncogenic Ras and the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ). The power of TGFβ to mediate EMT during metastasis depends on versatile signaling crosstalk and on the regulation of successive waves of expression of many other cytokines and the progressive remodeling of the extracellular matrix that facilitates motility through basement membranes. Since metastasis involves many organs in the body, whereas EMT affects carcinoma cell differentiation locally, it has frequently been debated whether EMT truly contributes to metastasis. Despite controversies, studies of circulating tumor cells, studies of acquired chemoresistance by metastatic cells, and several (but not all) metastatic animal models, support a link between EMT and metastasis, with TGFβ, often being a common denominator in this link. This article aims at discussing mechanistic cases where TGFβ signaling and EMT facilitate tumor cell dissemination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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Open AccessReview
Signaling Pathways Induced by Leptin during Epithelial–Mesenchymal Transition in Breast Cancer
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2018, 19(11), 3493; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19113493
Received: 3 October 2018 / Revised: 27 October 2018 / Accepted: 1 November 2018 / Published: 6 November 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2110 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Leptin is an adipokine that is overexpressed in obese and overweight people. Interestingly, women with breast cancer present high levels of leptin and of its receptor ObR. Leptin plays an important role in breast cancer progression due to the biological processes it participates [...] Read more.
Leptin is an adipokine that is overexpressed in obese and overweight people. Interestingly, women with breast cancer present high levels of leptin and of its receptor ObR. Leptin plays an important role in breast cancer progression due to the biological processes it participates in, such as epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT consists of a series of orchestrated events in which cell–cell and cell–extracellular matrix interactions are altered and lead to the release of epithelial cells from the surrounding tissue. The cytoskeleton is also re-arranged, allowing the three-dimensional movement of epithelial cells into the extracellular matrix. This transition provides cells with the ability to migrate and invade adjacent or distal tissues, which is a classic feature of invasive or metastatic carcinoma cells. In recent years, the number of cases of breast cancer has increased, making this disease a public health problem worldwide and the leading cause of death due to cancer in women. In this review, we focus on recent advances that establish: (1) leptin as a risk factor for the development of breast cancer, and (2) leptin as an inducer of EMT, an event that promotes tumor progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT))
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