A complex epigenome-splicing crosstalk governs epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in metastasis and brain development
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A protein regulates the complex mechanism by which sedentary cells turn into migratory ones — a process underpinning both brain development in embryos and the spread of cancer from primary tumours.
New-born neurons in the developing brain and cancer cells in static tumours migrate by the same process. But the molecular mechanism that causes tethered cells to become migratory ones was unknown.
Now, a team led by researchers from Queen’s University Belfast in the United Kingdom has found that a protein known as ZNF827 acts as a master regulator between the changes to the splicing and molecular tagging of genes that occur during the transition.
By improving our understanding of brain development and the spread of cancer in the body, this finding will help scientists diagnose cancer early and to develop better treatments for cancers and brain disorders, the researchers say.
- Nature Cell Biology 24, 1265–1277 (2022). doi: 10.1038/s41556-022-00971-3