Grainyhead-like (Grhl) Target Genes in Development and Cancer
journal contributionposted on 2022-03-31, 00:13 authored by Jemma GasperoniJemma Gasperoni, Jarrad FullerJarrad Fuller, C Darido, T Wilanowski, Sebastian DworkinSebastian Dworkin
Grainyhead-like (GRHL) factors are essential, highly conserved transcription factors (TFs) that regulate processes common to both natural cellular behaviours during embryogenesis, and de-regulation of growth and survival pathways in cancer. Serving to drive the transcription, and there-fore activation of multiple co-ordinating pathways, the three GRHL family members (GRHL1-3) are a critical conduit for modulating the molecular landscape that guides cellular decision-making processes during proliferation, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and migration. Animal models and in vitro approaches harbouring GRHL loss or gain-of-function are key research tools to understanding gene function, which gives confidence that resultant phenotypes and cellular behav-iours may be translatable to humans. Critically, identifying and characterising the target genes to which these factors bind is also essential, as they allow us to discover and understand novel genetic pathways that could ultimately be used as targets for disease diagnosis, drug discovery and therapeutic strategies. GRHL1-3 and their transcriptional targets have been shown to drive comparable cellular processes in Drosophila, C. elegans, zebrafish and mice, and have recently also been implicated in the aetiology and/or progression of a number of human congenital disorders and cancers of epithelial origin. In this review, we will summarise the state of knowledge pertaining to the role of the GRHL family target genes in both development and cancer, primarily through understanding the genetic pathways transcriptionally regulated by these factors across disparate disease contexts.