Epithelial cell plasticity: breaking boundaries and changing landscapes.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Review)

Epithelial tissues respond to a wide variety of environmental and genotoxic stresses. As an adaptive mechanism, cells can deviate from their natural paths to acquire new identities, both within and across lineages. Under extreme conditions, epithelial tissues can utilize "shape-shifting" mechanisms whereby they alter their form and function at a tissue-wide scale. Mounting evidence suggests that in order to acquire these alternate tissue identities, cells follow a core set of "tissue logic" principles based on developmental paradigms. Here, we review the terminology and the concepts that have been put forward to describe cell plasticity. We also provide insights into various cell intrinsic and extrinsic factors, including genetic mutations, inflammation, microbiota, and therapeutic agents that contribute to cell plasticity. Additionally, we discuss recent studies that have sought to decode the "syntax" of plasticity-i.e., the cellular and molecular principles through which cells acquire new identities in both homeostatic and malignant epithelial tissues-and how these processes can be manipulated for developing novel cancer therapeutics.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Tata, A; Chow, RD; Tata, PR

Published Date

  • July 5, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 7

Start / End Page

  • e51921 -

PubMed ID

  • 34096150

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8256290

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-3178

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.15252/embr.202051921


  • eng

Conference Location

  • England