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Cell Cycle. 2004 Jun;3(6):718-21. Epub 2004 Jun 28.

Notch and epithelial-mesenchyme transition in development and tumor progression: another turn of the screw.

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Department of Immunology and Oncology, Centro Nacional de BiotecnologĂ­a (CSIC), Campus Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain.


Notch is an ancient cell signaling system that regulates cell fate specification, stem cell maintenance and initiation of differentiation in embryonic and postnatal tissues.(1) Alteration of these functions in the adult have been associated to various types of cancer in which Notch may act as an oncogene or as a tumor suppressor. As occurs during development, Notch cooperates with other signaling pathways in the transformation process. Notch has recently been shown to promote epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) during cardiac valve formation, via snail induction and subsequent cadherin downregulation. One implication of this work is that Notch acting through a similar mechanism, may also be involved in the EMT process that occurs during tumor progression and converts polarized epithelial cells into motile, invasive cells.

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