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Oncogene. 2006 May 4;25(19):2773-84.

A novel activating function of c-Src and Stat3 on HGF transcription in mammary carcinoma cells.

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Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine, Division of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Queen's University Cancer Research Institute, Kingston, ON, Canada.


In the normal breast, hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is primarily expressed by stromal cells, and stimulates in a paracrine manner epithelial cells expressing the HGF receptor (Met). In invasive human breast carcinomas, HGF and Met are frequently overexpressed, possibly establishing an autocrine HGF/Met loop that promotes tumour cell invasion. However, the mechanisms leading to autocrine HGF expression in carcinoma cells are not known. We previously demonstrated a cooperative effect between c-Src and Stat3 in the activation of HGF transcription in mammary carcinoma cells. The present report defines a novel Stat3 consensus site at nt -95 in the HGF promoter that is highly conserved in human and mouse, and is required for c-Src and Stat3 to activate HGF transcription in breast epithelial cells. DNA-protein binding studies demonstrated high affinity binding of a Stat3-containing complex to the nt -95 site. Endogenous Stat3 binding to this region of the HGF promoter in carcinoma cells expressing HGF was demonstrated using a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. In addition, coexpression of Stat3 and activated c-Src caused increased expression of endogenous HGF mRNA and protein and marked cell scattering in breast epithelial cells. Our results delineate a novel c-Src/Stat3-dependent mechanism that regulates HGF promoter activity, and is linked to transformation of mammary epithelial cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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