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Keiichi Aomatsu, Tokuzo Arao, Kosuke Abe, Aya Kodama, Koji Sugioka, Kazuko Matsumoto, Kanae Kudo, Hideharu Kimura, Yoshihiko Fujita, Hidetoshi Hayashi, Tomoyuki Nagai, Yoshikazu Shimomura, Kazuto Nishio; Slug Is Upregulated during Wound Healing and Regulates Cellular Phenotypes in Corneal Epithelial Cells. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2012;53(2):751-756. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-8222.
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The involvement of the epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) in the process of corneal wound healing remains largely unclear. The purpose of the present study was to gain insight into Slug expression and corneal wound healing.
Slug expression during wound healing in the murine cornea was evaluated using fluorescence staining in vivo. Slug or Snail was stably introduced into human corneal epithelial cells (HCECs). These stable transfectants were evaluated for the induction of the EMT, cellular growth, migration activity, and expression changes in differentiation-related molecules.
Slug, but not Snail, was clearly expressed in the nuclei of corneal epithelial cells in basal lesion of the corneal epithelium during wound healing in vivo. The overexpression of Slug or Snail induced an EMT-like cellular morphology and cadherin switching in HCECs, indicating that these transcription factors were able to mediate the typical EMT in HCECs. The overexpression of Slug or Snail suppressed cellular proliferation but enhanced the migration activity. Furthermore, ABCG2, TP63, and keratin 19, which are known as stemness-related molecules, were downregulated in these transfectants.
It was found that Slug is upregulated during corneal wound healing in vivo. The overexpression of Slug mediated a change in the cellular phenotype affecting proliferation, migration, and expression levels of differentiation-related molecules. This is the first evidence that Slug is regulated during the process of corneal wound healing in the corneal epithelium in vivo, providing a novel insight into the EMT and Slug expression in corneal wound healing.
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