UnTEThering (Smooth Muscle) Cell Plasticity
Cellular plasticity has become the subject of intense research, with perhaps the greatest example provided by the recent Nobel Prize winners Drs. Yamananka and Gurdon and the demonstration that "terminally differentiated" fibroblasts can be coaxed into assuming an embryonic stem cell-like fate. Emerging evidence suggests that plasticity inherent in cells may be hijacked in the progression of disease and cancer. However, the mechanisms by which cells acquire and regulate this plasticity remains incompletely understood. It is appreciated that broad programs must be unleashed during these switches, and, therefore, control at the epigenetic level in regulating these processes has garnered significant interest. In this issue of Circulation, Liu et al provide evidence implicating the epigenetic factor termed ten-eleven translocation-2 (TET2) in control of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) plasticity and development of vascular disease.1
- Received September 22, 2013.
- Accepted September 25, 2013.