Author(s): Khursheed M, Bashyam MD
Apico-basal polarity is a cardinal molecular feature of adult eukaryotic epithelial cells and appears to be involved in several key cellular processes including polarized cell migration and maintenance of tissue architecture. Epithelial cell polarity is maintained by three well-conserved polarity complexes, namely, PAR, Crumbs and SCRIB. The location and interaction between the components of these complexes defines distinct structural domains of epithelial cells. Establishment and maintenance of apico-basal polarity is regulated through various conserved cell signalling pathways including TGF beta, Integrin and WNT signalling. Loss of cell polarity is a hallmark for carcinoma, and its underlying molecular mechanism is beginning to emerge from studies on model organisms and cancer cell lines. Moreover, deregulated expression of apico-basal polarity complex components has been reported in human tumours. In this review, we provide an overview of the apico-basal polarity complexes and their regulation, their role in cell migration, and finally their involvement in carcinogenesis.