Snail family proteins are key inducers of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a critical process required for normal embryonic development. They have also been strongly implicated in regulating the EMT-like processes required for tumour cell invasion, migration, and metastasis. Whether these proteins also contribute to normal blood cell development, however, remains to be clearly defined. Increasing evidence supports a role for the Snail family in regulating cell survival, migration, and differentiation within the haematopoietic system, as well as potentially an oncogenic role in the malignant transformation of haematopoietic stem cells. This review will provide a broad overview of the Snail family, including key aspects of their involvement in the regulation and development of solid organ cancer, as well as a discussion on our current understanding of Snail family function during normal and malignant haematopoiesis.
- Epithelial-mesenchymal transition
- Haematopoietic stem cells