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Anal Biochem. 2011 May 1;412(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2011.01.028. Epub 2011 Jan 27.

Molecular imaging of c-Met tyrosine kinase activity.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


The receptor tyrosine kinase c-Met and its ligand, hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF), modulate signaling cascades implicated in cellular proliferation, survival, migration, invasion, and angiogenesis. Therefore, dysregulation of HGF/c-Met signaling can compromise the cellular capacity to moderate these activities and can lead to tumorigenesis, metastasis, and therapeutic resistance in various human malignancies. To facilitate studies investigating HGF/c-Met receptor coupling or c-Met signaling events in real time and in living cells and animals, here we describe a genetically engineered reporter where bioluminescence can be used as a surrogate for c-Met tyrosine kinase activity. c-Met kinase activity in cultured cells and tumor xenografts was monitored quantitatively and dynamically in response to the activation or inhibition of the HGF/c-Met signaling pathway. Treatment of tumor-bearing animals with a c-Met inhibitor and the HGF neutralizing antibody stimulated the reporter's bioluminescence activity in a dose-dependent manner and led to a regression of U-87 MG tumor xenografts. Results obtained from these studies provide unique insights into the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of agents that modulate c-Met activity and validate c-Met as a target for human glioblastoma therapy.

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