Abstract: The presence of the HGF/Met system in the testicular myoid cells was first discovered by our group. However, the physiological role of this pathway remains poorly understood. We previously reported that HGF increases uPA secretion and TGF-β activation in cultured tubular fragments and that HGF is maximally expressed at Stages VII–VIII of the seminiferous epithelium cycle, when myoid cell contraction occurs. It is well known that the HGF/Met pathway is involved in cytoskeletal remodeling; moreover, the interaction of uPA with its receptor, uPAR, as well as the activation of TGF-β have been reported to be related to the actin cytoskeleton contractility of smooth muscle cells. Herein, we report that HGF induces actin cytoskeleton remodeling in vitro in isolated myoid cells and myoid cell contraction in cultured seminiferous tubules. To better understand these phenomena, we evaluated: (1) the regulation of the uPA machinery in isolated myoid cells after HGF administration; and (2) the effect of uPA or Met inhibition on HGF-treated tubular fragments. Because uPA activates latent TGF-β, the secretion of this factor was also evaluated. We found that both uPA and TGF-β activation increase after HGF administration. In testicular tubular fragments, HGF-induced TGF-β activation and myoid cell contraction are abrogated by uPA or Met inhibitor administration.
Abstract: Tumor metastases are responsible for approximately 90% of all cancer-related deaths. Metastasis formation is a multistep process that requires acquisition by tumor cells of a malignant phenotype that allows them to escape from the primary tumor site and invade other organs. Each step of this mechanism involves a deep crosstalk between tumor cells and their microenvironment where the host cells play a key role in influencing metastatic behavior through the release of many secreted factors. Among these signaling molecules, Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) is released by many cell types of the tumor microenvironment to target its receptor c-MET within the cells of the primary tumor. Many studies reveal that HGF/c-MET axis is implicated in various human cancers, and genetic and epigenetic gain of functions of this signaling contributes to cancer development through a variety of mechanisms. In this review, we describe the specific types of cells in the tumor microenvironment that release HGF in order to promote the metastatic outgrowth through the activation of extracellular matrix remodeling, inflammation, migration, angiogenesis, and invasion. We dissect the potential use of new molecules that interfere with the HGF/c-MET axis as therapeutic targets for future clinical trials in cancer disease.
Abstract: The c-Met receptor, also known as the HGF receptor, is one of the most studied tyrosine kinase receptors, yet its biological functions and activation mechanisms are still not fully understood. c-Met has been implicated in embryonic development and organogenesis, in tissue remodelling homeostasis and repair and in cancer metastasis. These functions are indicative of the many cellular processes in which the receptor plays a role, including cell motility, scattering, survival and proliferation. In the context of malignancy, sustained activation of c-Met leads to a signalling cascade involving a multitude of kinases that initiate an invasive and metastatic program. Many proteins can affect the activation of c-Met, including a variety of other cell surface and membrane-spanning molecules or receptors. Some cell surface molecules share structural homology with the c-Met extracellular domain and can activate c-Met via clustering through this domain (e.g., plexins), whereas other receptor tyrosine kinases can enhance c-Met activation and signalling through intracellular signalling cascades (e.g., EGFR). In this review, we provide an overview of c-Met interactions and crosstalk with partner molecules and the functional consequences of these interactions on c-Met activation and downstream signalling, c-Met intracellular localization/recycling and c-Met degradation.
Abstract: c-Met, a member of the receptor tyrosine kinase family, is involved in a wide range of cellular processes, including tumor survival, cell growth, angiogenesis and metastasis, and resulting in overexpression in many human cancers, leading to a constitutive activation of the downstream pathways. Recently identified MicroRNAs are a family of small noncoding RNA molecules, extensively studied in cancer, that exert their action by inhibiting gene expression at the posttranscriptional level in several biological processes. Aberrant regulation of microRNAs expression has been implicated in the pathogenesis of different human neoplasia. Several publications point out the connections between c-Met and its ligand hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and microRNAs. This review summarizes the current knowledge about the interplay between c-Met/HGF and microRNAs and provides evidence that microRNAs are a novel and additional system to regulate c-Met expression in tumors. In the future, microRNAs connected to c-Met may provide an additional option to inhibiting this oncogene from orchestrating an invasive growth program.
Abstract: The “hepatocyte growth factor” also known as “scatter factor”, is a multifunctional cytokine with the peculiar ability of simultaneously triggering epithelial cell proliferation, movement and survival. The combination of those proprieties results in the induction of an epithelial to mesenchymal transition in target cells, fundamental for embryogenesis but also exploited by tumor cells during metastatization. The hepatocyte growth factor receptor, MET, is a proto-oncogene and a prototypical transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor. Inhere we discuss the MET molecular structure and the hepatocyte growth factor driven physiological signaling which coordinates epithelial proliferation, motility and morphogenesis.