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EMBO J. 1991 Oct;10(10):2867-78.

Scatter factor and hepatocyte growth factor are indistinguishable ligands for the MET receptor.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Oncology, University of Torino, School Medicine, Italy.


Scatter Factor (SF) is a fibroblast-secreted protein which promotes motility and matrix invasion of epithelial cells. Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF) is a powerful mitogen for hepatocytes and other epithelial tissues. SF and HGF, purified according to their respective biological activities, were interchangeable and equally effective in assays for cell growth, motility and invasion. Both bound with identical affinities to the same sites in target cells. The receptor for SF and HGF was identified as the product of the MET oncogene by: (i) ligand binding and coprecipitation in immunocomplexes; (ii) chemical crosslinking to the Met beta subunit; (iii) transfer of binding activity in insect cells by a baculovirus carrying the MET cDNA; (iv) ligand-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of the Met beta subunit. SF and HGF cDNA clones from human fibroblasts, placenta and liver had virtually identical sequences. We conclude that the same molecule (SF/HGF) acts as a growth or motility factor through a single receptor in different target cells.

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