Development

Crumbs2 gets mesoderm moving

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Science  06 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6320, pp. 36
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6320.36-e

The protein Crumbs2 is essential for gastrulation.

PHOTO: RAMKUMAR ET AL., NATURE CELL BIOLOGY 18 (21 NOVEMBER 2016) © NATURE

The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is the process by which cells move out of a structured, epithelial tissue and become motile. EMT is implicated in cancer metastasis and is critical during embryonic development. At gastrulation, newly specified mesodermal cells undergo EMT and move inside the embryo, giving it a trilaminar structure. Ramkumar et al. show that in mice, the apical protein Crumbs2 is critical for cells to leave the epithelial epiblast and move inside the embryo to form a new tissue layer. In the absence of this protein, mesoderm formation is disrupted, and cells do not ingress. Instead, a single layer forms, and the embryo fails to properly establish its body plan, leading to embryonic arrest.

Nat. Cell Biol. 18, 1281 (2016).

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