Submitted by Michele Balsamo of the Gertler Lab at the Koch Institute
Gertler Lab, Koch Institute
"This image depicts the localization of proteins required for the formation of a functional epithelium in vitro (keratinocytes, skin cells). In green is Mena, an actin cytoskeleton regulatory protein; in blue is E-cadherin a key molecule that is required to let the epithelial cells “stick” together and in red is the actin cytoskeleton.
Often in human epithelial cancers such as breast, prostate, lung, colon, pancreatic, skin (non melanoma skin tumors) there is a massive disruption of the normal tissue architecture, and deregulated cell-cell adhesion can contribute to metastasis. This has been shown in models of the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is a biological process that naturally occurs during embryo development for the formation and shape of different organs, but in epithelial cancers is thought to contribute to metastasis. I was trying to learn the contribution of actin cytoskeleton regulatory proteins during the formation of cell-cell junctions in epithelial cells."