PMID: 12727836May 3, 2003

The protein kinase Akt induces epithelial mesenchymal transition and promotes enhanced motility and invasiveness of squamous cell carcinoma lines

Cancer Research
Sylvia Julien GrilleLionel Larue


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is an important process during development and oncogenesis by which epithelial cells acquire fibroblast-like properties and show reduced intercellular adhesion and increased motility. Squamous cell carcinoma lines engineered to express constitutively active Akt underwent EMT, characterized by down-regulation of the epithelial markers desmoplakin, E-cadherin, and beta-catenin and up-regulation of the mesenchymal marker vimentin. The cells lost epithelial cell morphology and acquired fibroblast-like properties. Additionally, E-cadherin was down-regulated transcriptionally. The cells expressing constitutively active Akt exhibited reduced cell-cell adhesion, increased motility on fibronectin-coated surfaces, and increased invasiveness in animals. AKT is activated in many human carcinomas, and the AKT-driven EMT may confer the motility required for tissue invasion and metastasis. These findings suggest that future therapies based on AKT inhibition may complement conventional treatments by controlling tumor cell invasion and metastasis.

Related Concepts

Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
VIM gene
Fragile X Syndrome
Beta catenin
Cell Motility
CTNNB1 protein, human
Squamous Transitional Epithelial Cell Count
Receptor Down-Regulation
Protein kinase B gamma

Related Feeds

Cadherins and Catenins

Cadherins (named for "calcium-dependent adhesion") are a type of cell adhesion molecule (CAM) that is important in the formation of adherens junctions to bind cells with each other. Catenins are a family of proteins found in complexes with cadherin cell adhesion molecules of animal cells: alpha-catenin can bind to β-catenin and can also bind actin. β-catenin binds the cytoplasmic domain of some cadherins. Discover the latest research on cadherins and catenins here.

Carcinoma, Squamous Cell

Basal cell carcinoma is a form of malignant skin cancer found on the head and neck regions and has low rates of metastasis. Discover the latest research on basal cell carcinoma here.

Adhesion Molecules in Health and Disease

Cell adhesion molecules are a subset of cell adhesion proteins located on the cell surface involved in binding with other cells or with the extracellular matrix in the process called cell adhesion. In essence, cell adhesion molecules help cells stick to each other and to their surroundings. Cell adhesion is a crucial component in maintaining tissue structure and function. Discover the latest research on adhesion molecule and their role in health and disease here.