Modeling TGF-β signaling pathway in epithelial-mesenchymal transition

Pasquale Laise, Duccio Fanelli, Pietro Lió, Annarosa Arcangeli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) consists in a morphological change in epithelial cells characterized by the loss of the cell adhesion and the acquisition of mesenchymal phenotype. This process plays a crucial role in the embryonic development and in regulating the tissue homeostasis in the adult, but it proves also fundamental for the development of cancer metastasis. Experimental evidences have shown that the EMT depends on the TGF-β signaling pathway, which in turn regulates the transcriptional cellular activity. In this work, a dynamical model of the TGF-β pathway is proposed and calibrated versus existing experimental data on lung cancer A549 cells. The analysis combines Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) and standard Ordinary Differential Equations (ODEs) techniques to interpolate the gene expression data via an iterative adjustments of the parameters involved. The kinetic of the Smad proteins phosphorylation, as predicted within the model is found in excellent agreement with available experiments, an observation that confirms the adequacy of the proposed mathematical picture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number011201
JournalAIP Advances
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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