Numb: A New Player in EMT
Cell Adhesion & Migration
Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a critical event in embryogenesis and plays a fundamental role in cancer progression and metastasis1. Numb has been shown to play an important role in the proper functions of Par protein complex and in cell-cell junctions, both of which are associated with EMT. However, the role of Numb in EMT has not been fully elucidated. Recently, we showed that Numb is capable of binding to both Par3 and E-cadherin. Intriguingly, the interaction of Numb with E-cadherin or the Par protein complex is dynamically regulated by tyrosine phosphorylation induced by HGF or Src. Knockdown of Numb by shRNA in MDCK cells led to an lateral to apical translocation of E-cadherin and β-catenin, active F-actin polymerization, mis-localization of Par3 and aPKC, a decrease in cell-cell adhesion, and an increase in cell migration and proliferation. These data suggest a diverse role for Numb in regulating cell-cell adhesion, polarity and migration during EMT.