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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2017 Jul;67:113-122. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2016.05.011. Epub 2016 May 18.

On the role of mechanics in driving mesenchymal-to-epithelial transitions.

Author information

1
Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.
2
Department of Bioengineering, Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA; Department of Developmental Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA; Department of Computational and Systems Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA. Electronic address: lad43@pitt.edu.

Abstract

The mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) is an intrinsically mechanical process describing a multi-step progression where autonomous mesenchymal cells gradually become tightly linked, polarized epithelial cells. METs are fundamental to a wide range of biological processes, including the evolution of multicellular organisms, generation of primary and secondary epithelia during development and organogenesis, and the progression of diseases including cancer. In these cases, there is an interplay between the establishment of cell polarity and the mechanics of neighboring cells and microenvironment. In this review, we highlight a spectrum of METs found in normal development as well as in pathological lesions, and provide insight into the critical role mechanics play at each step. We define MET as an independent process, distinct from a reverse-EMT, and propose questions to further explore the cellular and physical mechanisms of MET.

KEYWORDS:

Cell and tissue polarity; Cell mechanics; EMT; Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; Epithelialization; MET; Phenotypic plasticity; Polarization; Re-epithelialization; Reverse-EMT

PMID:
27208723
PMCID:
PMC5115991
DOI:
10.1016/j.semcdb.2016.05.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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