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Mol Cell Biol. 1995 Feb;15(2):1110-22.

Regulation of scatter factor/hepatocyte growth factor responses by Ras, Rac, and Rho in MDCK cells.

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  • 1Institute of Cancer Research, Chester Beatty Laboratories, London, United Kingdom.


Scatter factor/hepatocyte growth factor (SF/HGF) stimulates the motility of epithelial cells, initially inducing centrifugal spreading of cell colonies followed by disruption of cell-cell junctions and subsequent cell scattering. These responses are accompanied by changes in the actin cytoskeleton, including increased membrane ruffling and lamellipodium extension, disappearance of peripheral actin bundles at the edges of colonies, and an overall decrease in stress fibers. The roles of the small GTP-binding proteins Ras, Rac, and Rho in regulating responses to SF/HGF were investigated by microinjection. Inhibition of endogenous Ras proteins prevented SF/HGF-induced actin reorganization, spreading, and scattering, whereas microinjection of activated H-Ras protein stimulated spreading and actin reorganization but not scattering. When a dominant inhibitor of Rac was injected, SF/HGF- and Ras-induced spreading and actin reorganization were prevented, although activated Rac alone did not stimulate either response. Microinjection of activated Rho inhibited spreading and scattering, while inhibition of Rho function led to the disappearance of stress fibers and peripheral bundles but did not prevent SF/HGF-induced motility. We conclude that Ras and Rac act downstream of the SF/HGF receptor p190Met to mediate cell spreading but that an additional signal is required to induce scattering.

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