Function of mammalian cell polarity regulators in skin cancer

A10 IDENpublicationsMescher M, Iden S; Cell News 4/14.
Establishment of cell polarity and orchestrated tissue architecture
are critical to development, organ homeostasis and regeneration.
Almost every cell type in our body at least transiently
polarizes based on intrinsic cues or upon extrinsic stimuli, thereby
contributing to various organismal functions. Alterations in
adhesion, polarity and architecture of tumor cells are hallmarks
of cancer and implicated in tumor growth, invasion and metastasis.
Seminal work in Drosophila and mammalian cell culture
suggested a molecular connection between regulation of
polarity and oncogenic processes. Recent advance stems from
different mouse models that revealed a causal link between
polarity protein dysfunction and the formation and progression
of cancer. The Iden laboratory investigates the in vivo role of
mammalian polarity proteins in cell and tissue polarity, tissue
homeostasis and pathologic conditions such as cancer (Iden
and Collard 2008; Iden et al. 2012a; Ellenbroek et al. 2012).
We assess how polarity proteins including the Par3/aPKC complex
regulate growth and survival, cytoskeletal rearrangement,
fate decisions and differentiation, and how dysfunction of these
proteins affects oncogenic processes. In this focus article we
concentrate on recent insight into the role of epidermal Par3
in formation and progression of different types of skin cancer.
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