Table of Contents
Journal of Signal Transduction
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 289243, 10 pages
Review Article

The Roles of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Pathways in TGF-β-Induced Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition

First Department of Pathology, Wakayama Medical University School of Medicine, 811-1 Kimiidera, Wakayama 641-0012, Japan

Received 15 August 2011; Revised 22 October 2011; Accepted 23 October 2011

Academic Editor: Karl Matter

Copyright © 2012 Ting Gui et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway allows cells to interpret external signals and respond appropriately, especially during the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). EMT is an important process during embryonic development, fibrosis, and tumor progression in which epithelial cells acquire mesenchymal, fibroblast-like properties and show reduced intercellular adhesion and increased motility. TGF-β signaling is the first pathway to be described as an inducer of EMT, and its relationship with the Smad family is already well characterized. Studies of four members of the MAPK family in different biological systems have shown that the MAPK and TGF-β signaling pathways interact with each other and have a synergistic effect on the secretion of additional growth factors and cytokines that in turn promote EMT. In this paper, we present background on the regulation and function of MAPKs and their cascades, highlight the mechanisms of MAPK crosstalk with TGF-β signaling, and discuss the roles of MAPKs in EMT.