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Cell Death Differ. 2004 Oct;11(10):1092-101.

A role for Id in the regulation of TGF-beta-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation.

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Department of Molecular Pathology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Epithelial-mesenchymal transdifferentiation (EMT) is a critical morphogenic event that occurs during embryonic development and during the progression of various epithelial tumors. EMT can be induced by transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta in mouse NMuMG mammary epithelial cells. Here, we demonstrate a central role of helix-loop-helix factors, E2A and inhibitor of differentiation (Id) proteins, in TGF-beta-induced EMT. Epithelial cells ectopically expressing E2A adopt a fibroblastic phenotype and acquire migratory/invasive properties, concomitant with the suppression of E-cadherin expression. Id proteins interacted with E2A proteins and antagonized E2A-dependent suppression of the E-cadherin promoter. Levels of Id proteins were dramatically decreased by TGF-beta. Moreover, NMuMG cells overexpressed Id2 showed partial resistance to TGF-beta-induced EMT. Id proteins thus inhibit the action of E2A proteins on the expression of E-cadherin, but after TGF-beta stimulation, E2A proteins are present in molar excess of the Id proteins, thus over-riding their inhibitory function and leading to EMT.

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