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Cancer Sci. 2006 Dec;97(12):1343-50. Epub 2006 Oct 9.

Inhibitory effect of c-Met mutants on the formation of branching tubules by a porcine aortic endothelial cell line.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8501, Japan.


The association of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) with its high-affinity receptor (c-Met) has been shown to induce mitogenesis, motogenesis and morphogenesis in a variety of cell types. Various point mutations in c-Met have been identified in hereditary and sporadic papillary renal carcinomas as well as in other carcinomas. In the present study, we examined the effects of c-Met point mutations on the morphology of a porcine aortic endothelial (PAE) cell line. When cultured in three-dimensional collagen gel, PAE cells formed branching tubule structures, and HGF treatment caused breakdown of the structures and induced a scattered morphology. The exogenous expression of c-Met point mutants inhibited the formation of tubules. HGF treatment induced the formation of tubules by PAE cells expressing some c-Met mutants, but it induced the scattering of PAE cells expressing other c-Met mutants. The presence of a low concentration of a mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor cancelled the inhibitory effect of the c-Met point mutations on the formation of tubules. These results suggest that c-Met point mutations affect the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling required for the formation of tubules by PAE cells, and HGF binding changes the conformation of c-Met mutants, leading to the different signals required for formation of tubules and cell scattering.

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