Citation: Erkenbrack, E. M. (2017). Divergence of ectodermal and mesodermal gene regulatory network linkages in early development of sea urchins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(46), E7202-E7211.
Placental invasion into the maternal endometrium of the uterus shows substantial similarities to early cancer dissemination into stroma1,2,3,4. These similarities have inspired the hypothesis of antagonistic pleiotropy5,6. According to this hypothesis, trophoblasts evolved the capacity to invade the endometrium, leading to invasive placentation. These mechanisms can become reactivated in cancer cells, leading to a predisposition to metastasis. This implies that cancer malignancy should be limited to placental mammals where invasive placentation first evolved. This prediction, however, is inconsistent with the fact that opossums, with ancestrally non-invasive placenta7,8, get invasive skin cancers9. Here, we explore an alternative scenario in which stromal cells of the uterus evolved to either resist or permit invasion, determining the outcome of placental invasiveness9.
Cells frequently counteract environmental stress by conserved molecular mechanisms, leading to stress mitigation or apoptosis. Increasingly, studies on cellular stress responses intersect with cell type differentiation programs. It is hypothesized that integration of these conserved pathways is a mechanism of stress‐induced evolutionary innovation that is capable of generating novel cell types.
© 2016 Eric M Erkenbrack and SpringerNature. All rights reserved.