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epithelial mesenchymal transition

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A developmental process in which epithelial cells are apparently reprogrammed and exhibit completely different behaviour. There is reduced adhesion, increased cell mobility, and loss of E-cadherin expression. The transition in behaviour is important in mesoderm formation and neural tube formation. The process is stimulated by various growth factors such as IGF-1 and TGFβ-1 and is regulated through the Ras-MAPK and Wnt signalling pathways. Ras-MAPK activates two related transcription factors, Snail and Slug, that are transcriptional repressors of E-cadherin and their expression induces EMT. Twist, another transcription factor, has also been shown to induce EMT, and is implicated in the regulation of metastasis.

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