Submitted by Michele Balsamo of the Gertler Lab at the Koch Institute
Gertler Lab, Koch Institute
"This image depicts a monolayer of human breast cancer cells, stained for a cell-cell junction marker (ZO-1, in red), which is important to seal the apical part of the epithelium.
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."