Normal To Tumor-like Cell Transition
My research focuses on the role of protein tyrosine kinase 6 (PTK6) in different aspects of cancer. Here is an image taken under fluorescence microscope, with DAPI staining (Blue) showing the nuclei of each BPH1 cell. BPH1 is a human benign prostatic hyperplasia cell line which is close to human normal prostate epithelia cell. A marker of epithelial cells, E-cadherin (Red) was detected in the cell membrane between cell-cell contacts. When membrane targeted PTK6 was expressed in BPH1 cells, it induced the formation of peripheral adhesion complexes (Green, visualized by phospho-tyrosine staining) around cell membrane. Interestingly, these “green” cells showed a remarkable loss of E-cadherin (Red). This phenomenon is called epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in biological terms, which is an important factor in human tumor progression. In other words, red cells represents normal cells and green cells represents tumor-like cells; membrane targeted PTK6 induces normal prostate cells to become tumor-like cells.