Deletion Of The Met Tyrosine Kinase In Liver Progenitor Oval Cells Increases Sensitivity To Apoptosis In Vitro

Castillo, G. etc
American Journal of Pathology, 2008

The hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/Met signaling system is essential for liver development, homeostasis, and function. In this study, we took advantage of a liver-specific, Met-conditional knockout mouse generated in our laboratory to address the molecular mechanisms of HGF/Met signaling in adult liver progenitor cell (oval cell) biology. For this purpose, we isolated oval cells from 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydro-collidine-treated Met(flx/flx) mice and established oval cell-derived cell lines that carried either functional (Met(flx/flx)) or a nonfunctional (Met(-/-)) met gene using virus-mediated Cre-loxP recombination. Oval cells lacking Met tyrosine kinase activity displayed neither Met phosphorylation nor activation of downstream targets and were refractory to HGF stimulation. Although Met(-/-) and Met(flx/flx) cells proliferated at similar rates under 10% serum, Met-deficient cells demonstrated decreased cell viability and were more prone to apoptosis when challenged with either serum starvation or the pro-apoptotic cytokine transforming growth factor-beta. Treatment with HGF reduced transforming growth factor-beta-mediated cell death in Met(flx/flx) but not Met(-/-) cells. Importantly, Met(flx/flx) and Met(-/-) cells both constitutively expressed hgf, and conditioned medium from serum-starved oval cells exhibited anti-apoptotic activity in Met(flx/flx) cells. Furthermore, serum-starved Met(flx/flx) cells showed persistent activation of the Met tyrosine kinase, suggesting HGF/Met autocrine regulation. In conclusion, these data reveal a critical, functional role for Met in oval cell survival through an autocrine mechanism.

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American Journal of Pathology
Universidad Complutense de Madrid