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Clin Exp Metastasis. 2003;20(4):291-300.

Activation of c-Met in colorectal carcinoma cells leads to constitutive association of tyrosine-phosphorylated beta-catenin.

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Department of Cancer Biology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77401, USA.


Increased expression and/or activity of c-Met, the receptor protein tyrosine kinase for hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor, occurs commonly during colon tumor progression. To examine potential roles for c-Met in promoting metastasis, we compared the colon tumor cell line KM12C with low metastatic potential to the isogenic variants KM,12L4 and KM12SM with high metastatic potential. KM12C cells express c-Met with low levels of tyrosine phosphorylation in the absence of HGF. The high metastatic cells express a c-Met that is constitutively tyrosine phosphorylated, they have increased colony formation, and are minimally responsive to HGF relative to the parental cells. Tyrosine-phosphorylated beta-catenin was constitutively associated with c-Met in the more metastatic cells, but was inducible only after HGF addition in the less metastatic cells. Functions mediated by beta-catenin, including cell-cell adhesion and migration, and activation of the tcf (T-cell factor) family of transcription factors, were also elevated in the more metastatic KM12SM and L4 cells. Furthermore, analysis of the known tcf transcriptional target genes, cyclin D1, c-Myc, and uPAR, demonstrated increased expression in the high metastatic cells, correlating with the levels of tcf activity. Collectively, these results suggest that endogenous activation of c-Met in highly metastatic KM12SM CRC cells results in increased survival and growth under anchorage independent conditions, increased in vitro migration, and elevated levels of tcf target genes. Thus, beta-catenin association with activated c-Met may contribute to a more aggressive liver metastatic phenotype of these cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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