Epigenetics and EMT

During an epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), the activation of specific transcription factors results in the downregulation of epithelial genes and the induction of mesenchymal genes. In addition, epigenetic mechanisms, including histone modification and DNA methylation, have been implicated in altering gene expression during the induction and maintenance of EMT. For instance, histone methylation by enzyme complexes containing WDR5 reduces the expression of epithelial genes, while CBP-mediated histone acetylation activates mesenchymal gene expression. Additionally, the polycomb group protein EZH2 can silence E-Cadherin expression by histone H3 Lys27 trimethylation within the promoter region.