The Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT)

Bhuvi M -

Hello everyone! This week, I continued to work on the transfected cells. In this post, I will discuss the epithelial to mesenchymal transition as it is a crucial part of the analysis.

Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a cellular process wherein epithelial cells, typically structured and stationary, transform into mesenchymal cells, which are more flexible and mobile. Epithelial cells are like bricks in a wall, forming organized layers that serve as barriers in our body, while mesenchymal cells are more like individual cells floating in a liquid.

During EMT, epithelial cells lose their tightly packed arrangement and gain characteristics that allow them to break free from their original location and move around. This transformation is akin to changing from a fixed structure to a more fluid state, enabling cells to migrate through tissues and reach new destinations.

In normal biological processes, EMT plays a crucial role in embryonic development, wound healing, and tissue regeneration. However, when EMT occurs excessively or inappropriately, it can contribute to various pathological conditions such as fibrosis and cancer metastasis.

In cancer, for example, EMT enables cancer cells to acquire traits that promote invasion into surrounding tissues and dissemination to distant organs, ultimately facilitating the spread of the disease throughout the body. Understanding EMT is essential for unraveling the mechanisms underlying both normal development and disease progression, with potential implications for developing therapeutic interventions targeting this process.

If we look at the pictures from last week, we can visually understand the difference in Epithelial and Mesenchymal cells.

Day 3 Parental Cell Line Transfected with Axl (Cobblestone Morphology)

Day 10 Parental Cell Line Transfected with Axl (Fibroblast Morphology)

Once the Axl gene was added, the cells had a more fibroblast morphology instead of looking like cobblestones. This week, we concluded that when this picture was taken, the cells were under a lot of stress at the moment, since later this week, they reverted to the cobblestone morphology.


Thank you for reading!


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    Great description of EMT!!! What do you think caused the stress in the second picture? Was it the addition of the Axl gene?
    We believe the addition of the Axl gene could cause the stress, but some other factors could be the addition of media with serum or even just changing the media and adding the antibiotic.

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