Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition gene database (dbEMT) Home
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Vimentin regulates scribble activity by protecting it from proteasomal degradation.

Scribble (Scrib), Discs large, and Lethal giant larvae form a protein complex that regulates different aspects of cell polarization, including apical-basal asymmetry in epithelial cells and anterior-posterior polarity in migrating cells. Here, we show that Scrib interacts with the intermediate filament cytoskeleton in epithelial Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells and endothelial human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Scrib binds vimentin via its postsynaptic density 95/disc-large/zona occludens domains and in MDCK cells redistributes from filaments to the plasma membrane during the establishment of cell-cell contacts. RNA interference-mediated silencing of Scrib, vimentin, or both in MDCK cells results in defects in the polarization of the Golgi apparatus during cell migration. Concomitantly, wound healing is delayed due to the loss of directional movement. Furthermore, cell aggregation is dependent on both Scrib and vimentin. The similar phenotypes observed after silencing either Scrib or vimentin support a coordinated role for the two proteins in cell migration and aggregation. Interestingly, silencing of vimentin leads to an increased proteasomal degradation of Scrib. Thus, the upregulation of vimentin expression during epithelial to mesenchymal transitions may stabilize Scrib to promote directed cell migration.

The epithelial mesenchymal transition confers resistance to the apoptotic effects of transforming growth factor Beta in fetal rat hepatocytes.

Fetal rat hepatocytes treated with transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) die by apoptosis. However, a subpopulation of them survives and undergoes an epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT). This transition also occurs upon incubation with fetal bovine serum. We have isolated the subpopulations that undergo EMT (TGF-beta-treated-fetal hepatocytes: TbetaT-FH; serum-treated-fetal hepatocytes: ST-FH) and show that they present high levels of vimentin and Snail expression and lack cytokeratin 18 and E-cadherin. Both TbetaT-FH and ST-FH cells require mitogens to grow and maintain the response to TGF-beta in terms of growth inhibition. However, they lack differentiation markers such as the liver-enriched transcription factors hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 (HNF-4) or HNF-1alpha and express the progenitor marker OV-6. Interestingly, the EMT process confers them resistance to the apoptotic effect of TGF-beta, with cells showing higher levels of active AKT and Bcl-x(L) than fetal hepatocytes. In summary, these cells are refractory to the apoptotic effects of TGF-beta, showing characteristics of liver progenitors and of some hepatocellular carcinoma cells.