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This article is part of the supplement: Proceedings of Fibroproliferative disorders: from biochemical analysis to targeted therapies

Open Access Open Badges Proceedings

Reversal of transforming growth factor-β induced epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and the ZEB proteins

Shreyasi Das1*, Bryan N Becker2, F Michael Hoffmann34 and Janet E Mertz4

Author Affiliations

1 Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, 10901 N. Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

2 Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin 53792, USA

3 Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 425-G Henry Mall, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA

4 McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, 1400 University Ave, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA

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Fibrogenesis & Tissue Repair 2012, 5(Suppl 1):S28  doi:10.1186/1755-1536-5-S1-S28

Published: 6 June 2012



The dynamic process of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a causal event in kidney fibrosis. This cellular phenotypic transition involves activation of transcriptional responses and remodeling of cellular structures to change cellular function. The molecular mechanisms that directly contribute to the re-establishment of the epithelial phenotype are poorly understood.


Here, we discuss recent studies from our group and other laboratories identifying signaling pathways leading to the reversal of EMT in fibrotic models. We also present evidence that transcriptional factors such as the ZEB proteins are important regulators for reversal of EMT.


These studies provide insights into cellular plasticity and possible targets for therapeutic intervention.