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Am J Physiol. 1997 Oct;273(4 Pt 2):F563-74.

Early role of Fsp1 in epithelial-mesenchymal transformation.

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  • 1Penn Center for Molecular Studies of Kidney Disease, Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6144, USA.


A seamless plasticity exists among cells shifting between epithelial and mesenchymal phenotypes during early development and again later, in adult tissues, following wound repair or organ remodeling in response to injury. Fsp1, a gene encoding a fibroblast-specific protein associated with mesenchymal cell morphology and motility, is expressed during epithelial-mesenchymal transformations (EMT) in vivo. In the current study, we identified several cytokines that induce Fsp1 in cultured epithelial cells. A combination of these factors, however, was most efficacious at completing the process of EMT. The optimal combination identified were two of the cytokines classically associated with fibrosis, i.e., transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) and epidermal growth factor (EGF). To confirm that it was the induction of Fsp1 by these cytokines mediating EMT, we used antisense oligomers to block Fsp1 production and subsequently measured cell motility and markers of EMT phenotype. The antisense oligomers suppressed Fsp1 expresison and epithelial transformation; therefore, we conclude that the appearance of Fsp1 is an important early event in the pathway toward EMT.

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