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Oncogene. 2010 Sep 23;29(38):5286-98. doi: 10.1038/onc.2010.267. Epub 2010 Jul 5.

Cell delivery of Met docking site peptides inhibit angiogenesis and vascular tumor growth.

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Oncology Research, Science and Technology Pole, Casa di Cura MultiMedica-IRCCS, Milan, Italy.


Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) and its receptor Met are responsible for a wide variety of cellular responses, both physiologically during embryo development and tissue homeostasis, and pathologically, particularly during tumor growth and dissemination. In cancer, Met can act as an oncogene on tumor cells, as well as a pro-angiogenic factor activating endothelial cells and inducing new vessel formation. Molecules interfering with Met activity could be valuable therapeutic agents. Here we have investigated the antiangiogenic properties of a synthetic peptide mimicking the docking site of the Met carboxyl-terminal tail, which was delivered into the cells by fusion with the internalization sequences from Antennapedia or HIV-Tat. We showed that these peptides inhibit ligand-dependent endothelial cell proliferation, motility, invasiveness and morphogenesis in vitro to an even greater extent and with much less toxicity than the Met inhibitor PHA-665752, which correlated with interference of HGF-dependent downstream signaling. In vivo, the peptides inhibited HGF-induced angiogenesis in the matrigel sponge assay and impaired xenograft tumor growth and vascularization in Kaposi's sarcoma. These data show that interference with the Met receptor intracellular sequence impairs HGF-induced angiogenesis, suggesting the use of antidocking site compounds as a therapeutic strategy to counteract angiogenesis in cancer as well as in other diseases.

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