Abstract: The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF): MET axis is a ligand-mediated receptor tyrosine kinase pathway that is involved in multiple cellular functions, including proliferation, survival, motility, and morphogenesis. Aberrancy in the HGF/MET pathway has been reported in multiple tumor types and is associated with tumor stage and prognosis. Thus, targeting the HGF/MET pathway has become a potential therapeutic strategy in oncology development in the last two decades. A number of novel therapeutic agents—either as therapeutic proteins or small molecules that target the HGF/MET pathway—have been tested in patients with different tumor types in clinical studies. In this review, recent progress in HGF/MET pathway-targeted therapy for cancer treatment, the therapeutic potential of HGF/MET-targeted agents, and challenges in the development of such agents will be discussed.
Abstract: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)-signaling via Met can induce mitogenic, morphogenic, and motogenic activity in various cell types. Met expression in the immune system is limited to cells with antigen-presenting capacities, including dendritic cells (DCs). Thus, it appears highly conceivable that Met-signaling impacts on adaptive immune responses. However, the mechanisms by which HGF imparts its effects on immunological responses are not yet fully understood. DCs possess unique functionalities that are critically involved in controlling both tolerance and immunity. HGF conveys immunoregulatory functions, which strongly correlate with that of DCs orchestrating the apt immune response in inflammation. Therefore, this review focuses on the current knowledge of Met-signaling in DCs with specific emphasis on the morphogenic and motogenic activities. HGF has been identified to play a role in peripheral immune tolerance by directing DC differentiation towards a tolerogenic phenotype. In skin immunity, Met-signaling was shown to drive mobilization of DCs by regulating matrix metalloproteinase activities. This is strikingly reminiscent of the role of Met for regulating a cell fate program during embryonic development, wound healing, and in tumor invasion known as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Thus, the concept emerges that an EMT program is executed by Met-signaling in DCs, which will be also discussed.
Abstract: Activation of the hepatocyte growth factor/Met receptor is involved in muscle regeneration, through promotion of proliferation and inhibition of differentiation in myogenic stem cells (MSCs). We previously described that the specific expression of an oncogenic version of the Met receptor (Tpr–Met) in terminally-differentiated skeletal muscle causes muscle wasting in vivo. Here, we induced Tpr–Met in differentiated myotube cultures derived from the transgenic mouse. These cultures showed a reduced protein level of myosin heavy chain (MyHC), increased phosphorylation of Erk1,2 MAPK, the formation of giant sacs of myonuclei and the collapse of elongated myotubes. Treatment of the cultures with an inhibitor of the MAPK kinase pathway or with an inhibitor of the proteasome increased the expression levels of MyHC. In addition, the inhibition of the MAPK kinase pathway prevented the formation of myosacs and myotube collapse. Finally, we showed that induction of Tpr–Met in primary myotubes was unable to produce endoreplication in their nuclei. In conclusion, our data indicate that multinucleated, fused myotubes may be forced to disassemble their contractile apparatus by the Tpr–Met oncogenic factor, but they resist the stimulus toward the reactivation of the cell cycle.
Abstract: Hepatocyte growth factor-like protein (HGFl) and its receptor, Recepteur d'Origine Nantais (RON), have been implicated in the development of wound chronicity. HGFl and RON expression was detected in acute wound tissue, chronic wound tissue and in normal skin using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR). HGFl and RON expression was also assessed in chronic healing and chronic non-healing wound tissues using Q-PCR and immunohistochemical staining. Expression was similarly detected in the HaCaT immortalized human keratinocyte cell line using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). rhHGFl was used to assess the impact of this molecule on HaCaT cell functionality using in vitro growth assays and electric cell-substrate impendence sensing (ECIS) migration assays. HGFl and RON transcript expression were significantly increased in acute wound tissue compared to chronic wound tissue and were also elevated, though non-significantly, in comparison to normal skin. Minimal expression was seen in both healing and non-healing chronic wounds. Treatment of HaCaT cells with rhHGFl had no effect on growth rates but did enhance cell migration. This effect was abolished by the addition of a phospholipase C gamma (PLCγ) small molecule inhibitor. The increased expression of HGFl and RON in acute, healing wounds and the pro-migratory effect of HGFl in an in vitro human keratinocyte model, may indicate a role for HGFl in active wound healing.
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.