Article

Function of the zinc-finger transcription factor SNAI2 in cancer and development.

Universidad de Salamanca, Campus Miguel de Unamuno, 37007 Salamanca, Spain.
Annual Review of Genetics (Impact Factor: 18.12). 02/2007; 41:41-61. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.genet.41.110306.130146
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms that underlie disease development is still a tremendous challenge for basic science, and a prerequisite to the development of new and disease-specific targeted therapies. This review focuses on the function of SNAI2, a member of the Snail family of zinc-finger transcription factors, and discusses its possible role in disease development. SNAI2 has been implicated in diseases of melanocyte development and cancer in humans. Many malignancies arise from a rare population of cells that alone have the ability to self-renew and sustain the tumor (i.e., cancer stem cells). SNAI2 controls key aspects of stem cell function in mouse and human, suggesting that similar mechanisms control normal development and cancer stem cell properties. These insights are expected to contribute significantly to the genetics of cancer and to the development of both cancer therapy and new methods for assessing treatment efficacy.

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