Cancer researchers from
The study appears online this week (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/10/23/1318192110.abstract) in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the
"Cancer cells behave in complex ways, and this work shows how such complexity can arise from the operation of a relatively simple decision-making circuit," said study co-author
In the PNAS study, Ben-Jacob (http://tamar.tau.ac.il/~eshel/) and CTBP colleagues Jose Onuchic (http://chemistry.rice.edu/FacultyDetail.aspx?p=51BE2F2C673C5991),
The EMT transition is also a hallmark of cancer metastasis (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Sites-Types/metastatic). Cancer cells co-opt (http://www.nature.com/labinvest/journal/v92/n5/fig_tab/labinvest20128f1.html) the process to allow tumor cells to break away, migrate to other parts of the body and establish a new tumor. To find ways to shut down metastasis, cancer researchers have conducted dozens of studies about the genetic circuitry that activates the EMT.
One clear finding from previous studies is that a two-component genetic switch is the key to both the EMT and MET. The switch contains two specialized pairs of proteins. One pair is SNAIL and microRNA34 (SNAIL/miR34), and the other is ZEB and microRNA200 (ZEB/miR200).
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