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WMS Events Calendar

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

BMS Divisional Seminar: How epithelial tissues polarise and why this goes wrong in cancer, Professor Daniel St Johnston, Gurdon Institute, Cambridge
MTC Lecture Theatre, Warwick Medical School

Abstract: Most of our tissue and organs are composed of cells that adhere to each other to form epithelial sheets and tubes that act as a barriers between our insides and the outside world. In order to form these sheets, all of the cells must first polarise in the same direction, with their apical surfaces facing outside and their lateral sides forming specialised junctions. More than 80% of tumours arise from epithelial tissues and one of their hallmarks is that the tumour cells lose their apical-basal polarity. Work over the past 20 years has defined a conserved set of polarity factors that define the apical and baso-lateral domains of epithelial cells, but how these are related to cancer formation is currently unknown. I will discuss the canonical model of epithelial polarity and describe a new component of this system that may explain how polarity is disrupted in some cancers. I will then discuss evidence that suggests that one reason why progress has been slow is because different epithelia polarise by distinct mechanisms.