Epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) is characterized by the development of mesenchymal properties such as a fibroblast-like morphology with altered cytoskeletal organization and enhanced migratory potential. We report that the expression of podocalyxin (PODXL), a member of the CD34 family, is markedly increased during TGF-β induced EMT. PODXL is enriched on the leading edges of migrating A549 cells. Silencing of podocalyxin expression reduced cell ruffle formation, spreading, migration and affected the expression patterns of several proteins that normally change during EMT (e.g., vimentin, E-cadherin). Cytoskeletion assembly in EMT was also found to be dependent on the production of podocalyin. Compositional analysis of podocalyxin containing immunoprecipitates revealed that collagen type 1 was consistently associated with these isolates. Collagen type 1 was also found to co-localize with podocalyxin on the leading edges of migrating cells. The interactions with collagen may be a critical aspect of podocalyxin function. Podocalyxin is an important regulator of the EMT like process as it regulates the loss of epithelial features and the acquisition of a motile phenotype
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