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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Jan 15;90(2):649-53.

Transfer of motogenic and invasive response to scatter factor/hepatocyte growth factor by transfection of human MET protooncogene.

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


The MET protooncogene encodes p190MET, a tyrosine kinase which is the receptor for a molecule known as scatter factor or hepatocyte growth factor (SF/HGF). This molecule has different biological activities, including stimulation of cell motility, promotion of matrix invasion and, in some cells, mitogenesis. We have cloned the full-length MET cDNA and transfected it into NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. Stable transfectants expressed the p190MET receptor together with two previously described truncated forms of 140 and 130 kDa lacking the tyrosine kinase domain. All three forms bound radiolabeled SF/HGF. The factor stimulated tyrosine kinase activity of the transfected p190MET and induced changes in cell shape, migration in Boyden chambers, and invasion of collagen matrices in vitro. The motile and invasive phenotype was transient and strictly dependent on the presence of SF/HGF. The factor did not stimulate either cell growth or thymidine incorporation in transfected cells, while it promoted colony formation in soft agar in the presence of 5% fetal calf serum. These data show that, in the presence of its ligand, the MET receptor expressed in fibroblasts induces cells to pursue a motogenic-invasive rather than a proliferative program.

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