[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor, also known as Met, is a member of the receptor tyrosine kinase family. The Met-HGF interaction regulates various signalling pathways involving downstream kinases, such as Akt and Erk. Met activation is implicated in wound healing of tissues via multiple biological responses triggered by the above-mentioned signalling cascade. Here we report the development of artificial Met-activating dimeric macrocycles. We identify Met-binding monomeric macrocyclic peptides by means of the RaPID (random non-standard peptide integrated discovery) system, and dimerize the respective monomers through rational design. These dimeric macrocycles specifically and strongly activate Met signalling pathways through receptor dimerization and induce various HGF-like cellular responses, such as branching morphogenesis, in human cells. This work suggests our approach for generating dimeric macrocycles as non-protein ligands for cell surface receptors can be useful for developing potential therapeutics with a broad range of potential applications.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic injury and inflammation in the liver are associated with the development of liver fibrosis. Expressions of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) participate in the development and suppression, respectively, of liver fibrosis. Here, we investigated the effect of ONO-1301, a synthetic prostaglandin I2/IP receptor agonist, on liver fibrosis and on changes in the hepatic expressions of genes that regulate the progression of fibrosis in mice. Liver fibrosis was caused by the repetitive administration of CCl4 for 12 weeks, with ONO-1301 being administered during the last 4 weeks. The expressions of fibrogenic genes: TGF-β1, connective tissue growth factor, α-smooth muscle actin, type-I collagen, and type-III collagen were upregulated by chronic liver injury, which was associated with the expansion of myofibroblasts and the development of liver fibrosis. Treatment with ONO-1301 increased hepatic HGF mRNA expression, but decreased the expressions of TGF-β1, connective tissue growth factor, α-smooth muscle actin, and type-I and type-III collagen, which was associated with the suppression of myofibroblast expansion and liver fibrosis. Neutralizing antibody for HGF significantly attenuated the suppressive action of ONO-1301 on liver fibrosis and fibrogenic gene expressions. The therapeutic action of ONO-1301 on liver fibrosis may have occurred partly through HGF-mediated pathways.
No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Biomedical Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Met/hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor plays a definitive role in hepatocyte proliferation and liver regeneration. Phosphorylation of Ser985 in Met (Met-Ser985) down regulate tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of Met. However, mechanism of Met inactivation by Met-Ser985 phosphorylation and its biological significance on hepatocyte proliferation and liver regeneration are not well known. Here, we investigated biological role of Met-Ser985 phosphorylation in hepatocytes and liver. In primary cultured hepatocytes, HGF-dependent Met activation and mitogenesis were suppressed when Met-Ser985 was phosphorylated. Cell surface Met was decreased upon Met-Ser985 phosphorylation through endocytosis, suggesting a mechanism by which Met activation could be suppressed. In mice, HGF induced proliferation of hepatocyte in injured livers, but not in non-injured livers. Met-Ser985 phosphorylation was decreased after liver injury and associated with Met tyrosine phosphorylation/activation during liver regeneration. These results indicate that Met activation is regulated reciprocally to Met-Ser985 phosphorylation in the primary cultured hepatocytes and the liver following injury. Our study suggests that the phosphorylation of Met-Ser985 in hepatocytes plays a regulatory role in Met activation in response to quiescence, injury, and regeneration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: α-Lipoic acid (α-LA), a naturally occurring anti-oxidant and co-factor for metabolic enzymes, suppresses the growth of different types of tumor cells. The mechanisms that are responsible for these results, however, remain to be elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the effects of α-LA on the proliferation and activation status of definitive receptor tyrosine kinases, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and Met/hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) receptor, in gefitinib-sensitive human non-small cell lung cancer cells harboring EGFRs with an activating mutation. The enantiomers R-α-LA and S-α-LA suppressed cell proliferation and increased the level of reactive oxygen species in HCC-827 and PC-9 human non-small cell lung cancer cells in an indistinguishable dose-dependent fashion. A phospho-receptor tyrosine kinase array and cell cycle analysis indicated that α-LA decreased tyrosine phosphorylation levels of EGFR, ErbB2, and Met, and this was associated with an inhibition in the cell-cycle transition from the G1 phase to the S phase without inducing apoptosis. Gefitinib, an inhibitor for EGFR tyrosine kinase, inhibited EGFR tyrosine phosphorylation/activation and proliferation of the cells. Instead, the addition of HGF induced Met tyrosine phosphorylation, and this was associated with a resistance to gefitinib-induced growth inhibition, which meant a gain in proliferative ability. In the presence of gefitinib and HGF, the addition of α-LA suppressed Met tyrosine phosphorylation, and this was associated with an inhibition in cell growth. These results suggest that the suppression of tyrosine phosphorylation/activation of growth factor receptors that is critical for the proliferation of human non-small cell lung cancer cells is a mechanism by which α-LA exerts growth inhibition for cancer cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Our ongoing studies show that vascular endothelial cell growth factor (VEGF)-bound surfaces selectively capture endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) in vitro and in vivo, and that surface-bound VEGF stimulates intracellular signal transduction pathways over prolonged culture periods, resulting in inductive differentiation of EPCs. In this article, we investigated whether simulated arterial shear stress augments the differentiation of EPCs adhered to a VEGF-bound surface. Human peripheral blood-derived mononuclear cells adhered to a VEGF-bound surface were exposed to 1 day of shear stress (15 dynes/cm(2), corresponding to shear load in arteries). Shear stress suppressed the expression of mRNAs encoding CD34 and CD133, which are markers for EPCs, and augmented the expression of mRNAs encoding CD31 and von Willebrand factor (vWF) as well as vWF protein, which are markers for endothelial cells (ECs). Shear stress enhanced expression of ephrinB2 mRNA, a marker for arterial ECs, but did not significantly change expression of EphB4 mRNA, a marker for venous ECs. Focused protein array analysis showed that mechanotransduction by shear stress activated the p38 and MAPK pathways in EPCs. Thus, arterial shear stress, in concert with surface-bound VEGF, augments the differentiation of EPCs. These results strongly support previous observation of rapid differentiation of EPCs captured on VEGF-bound stents in a porcine model.
No preview · Article · May 2012 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tubulointerstitial injuries are crucial histological alterations that predict the deterioration of renal function in chronic kidney disease. ONO-1301, a novel sustained-release prostacyclin analog, accompanied by thromboxane synthase activity, exerts therapeutic effects on experimental pulmonary hypertension, lung fibrosis, cardiomyopathy, and myocardial ischemia, partly associated with the induction of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). In the present study, we examined the therapeutic efficacies of ONO-1301 on tubulointerstitial alterations induced by unilateral ureteral obstruction (UUO). After inducing unilateral ureteral obstruction in C57/BL6J mice, a single injection of sustained-release ONO-1301 polymerized with poly (D,L-lactic-co-glycolic acid) sustained-release ONO-1301 (SR-ONO) significantly suppressed interstitial fibrosis, accumulation of types I and III collagen, increase in the number of interstitial fibroblast-specific protein-1 (FSP-1)(+) cells, and interstitial infiltration of monocytes/macrophages (F4/80(+)) in the obstructed kidneys (OBK; day 7). Treatment with SR-ONO significantly suppressed the increase of the renal levels of profibrotic factor TGF-β and phosphorylation of Smad2/3, and elevated the renal levels of HGF in the OBK. In cultured mouse proximal tubular epithelial cells (mProx24), ONO-1301 significantly ameliorated the expression of fibroblast-specific protein-1 and α-smooth muscle actin as well as phosphorylation of Smad3 and increased the expression of zonula occludens-1 and E-cadherin in the presence of TGF-β1 as detected by immunoblot and immunocytochemistry, partly dependent on PGI(2) receptor-mediated signaling. Administration of rabbit anti-HGF antibodies, but not the control IgG, partly reversed the suppressive effects of SR-ONO on tubulointerstitial injuries in the OBK. Taken together, our findings suggest the potential therapeutic efficacies of ONO-1301 in suppressing tubulointerstitial alterations partly mediated via inducing HGF, an antifibrotic factor counteracting TGF-β.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · AJP Renal Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Previous studies have demonstrated that mice disrupted with the cyclooxygenase-2 gene showed much more severe liver damage compared with wild-type mice after liver injury, and prostaglandins (PGs) such as PGE(1/2) and PGI(2) have decreased hepatic injury, but the mechanisms by which prostaglandins exhibit protective action on the liver have yet to be addressed. In the present study, we investigated the mechanism of the protective action of PGI(2) using the synthetic IP receptor agonist ONO-1301. In primary cultures of hepatocytes and nonparenchymal liver cells, ONO-1301 did not show protective action directly on hepatocytes, whereas it stimulated expression of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) in nonparenchymal liver cells. In mice, peroral administration of ONO-1301 increased hepatic gene expression and protein levels of HGF. Injections of CCl4 induced acute liver injury in mice, but the onset of acute liver injury was strongly suppressed by administration of ONO-1301. The increases in serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) by CCl4 were suppressed by 10 mg/kg ONO-1301 to 39.4 and 33.6%, respectively. When neutralizing antibody against HGF was administered with ONO-1301 and CCl4, the decreases by ONO-1301 in serum ALT and AST, apoptotic liver cells, and expansion of necrotic areas in liver tissue were strongly reversed by neutralization of endogenous HGF. These results indicate that ONO-1301 increases expression of HGF and that hepatoprotective action of ONO-1301 in CCl4-induced liver injury may be attributable to its activity to induce expression of HGF, at least in part. The potential for involvement of HGF-Met-mediated signaling in the hepatotrophic action of endogenous prostaglandins generated by injury-dependent cyclooxygenase-2 induction is considerable.
Preview · Article · Dec 2011 · AJP Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) play roles in spatially dynamic processes, including morphogenesis, wound healing, and tumor invasion. Three-dimensional (3-D) type I collagen stimulates cellular activation of MMP-2, however, the mechanisms underlying this are controversial. The present study investigated mechanisms for 3-D collagen-induced MMP-2 activation in highly invasive human malignant mesothelioma cells. MMP-2 was effectively activated by cells cultured in 3-D collagen but not in 2-D collagen, whereas MMP-2 activation was not regulated by the flexibility of collagen. The 3-D collagen did not largely increase the gene expression of MMP-2 and MT1-MMP. However, MT1-MMP exposed to the cell surface was much increased by 3-D collagen, and loss of MT1-MMP abolished MMP-2 activation in response to 3-D collagen. MT1-MMP and integrin β1 translocated to pericellular regions interacting with collagen-coated microbeads, however their localization was different. Importantly, inhibition of integrin β1 function and expression did not affect 3-D collagen-induced cell surface localization of MT1-MMP and MMP-2 activation. Our results strongly suggest that 3-D collagen scaffolding may provide opportunity for direct and multivalent interaction with MT1-MMP, by which MMP-2 activation occur in abundant cell surface MT1-MMP-dependent manner, rather than a manner regulated by matrix stiffness and integrin β1 function.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2011 · Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: NK4 exhibits two distinct biological actions: antagonistic inhibition of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) through binding to the Met/HGF receptor, and antiangiogenic action through binding to perlecan. Here, the anti-tumor effect of NK4 on malignant pleural mesothelioma was investigated. Of the 7 human malignant mesothelioma cell lines (ACC-Meso-1, ACC-Meso-4, EHMES-1, EHMES-10, H28, H2052 and JMN-1B), only EHMES-10 cells formed subcutaneous tumors when implanted into mice. For EHMES-10 cells, HGF facilitated invasion of the cells in collagen gel, whereas NK4 and neutralizing anti-HGF antibody suppressed the HGF-induced invasion. In addition, NK4 but not anti-HGF antibody suppressed proliferation of EHMES-10 cells in collagen, suggesting that the suppression by NK4 was independent of the HGF-Met pathway. In the subcutaneous tumor model, recombinant adenovirus-mediated intratumoral expression of NK4 inhibited tumor growth, while the invasive characteristic of tumor cells was not observed. Analysis of Met receptor tyrosine phosphorylation, proliferation, apoptosis and blood vessels in the tumor tissues indicated that the inhibitory effect of NK4 expression might be primarily caused by the inhibition of tumor angiogenesis. In all the 7 mesothelioma lines, HGF stimulated Met tyrosine phosphorylation, and this was associated with enhanced cell migration. HGF-dependent Met activation and migration were inhibited by NK4. Since malignant pleural mesothelioma represents an aggressive neoplasm characterized by extensive invasive growth, suppression of invasive growth has therapeutic value. Thus, the simultaneous inhibition of the HGF-Met pathway and angiogenesis by NK4 for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma is significant, particularly to attenuate migration and invasive growth.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) has been shown to be involved in malignant behaviors, such as invasion and metastasis, in different tumors. Hence, HGF could be a target molecule for control of the malignant potential of cancer. NK4 is a competitive antagonist for HGF and exerts an antitumor activity, not only by HGF antagonism but also by antiangiogenesis. Here, we studied the participation of cellular immunity in CT26 tumor regression by NK4 gene transfer. In vivo experiments showed that NK4-induced inhibition of subcutaneous tumor growth (as demonstrated in immunocompetent BALB/c mice) was weakened in T lymphocyte-deficient nude mice. In addition, the immunocompetent BALB/c mice that had shown complete regression of CT26-NK4 tumors generated an immune memory against repeated challenge with the same tumor antigen. Immunohistochemistry of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes showed that the ratio of CD8/CD4 in CT26-NK4 tumors was significantly higher than that in control tumors. Also, the presence of tumor-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) was demonstrated by cytotoxicity assays. Depletion of CD8+ T lymphocytes markedly abrogated the antitumor activity of NK4. However, NK4 had no direct effect on the in vitro cellular immune system. Taken together, these data indicate that NK4 expression by gene transfer, at the tumor site, triggers tumor-specific CTL activation, resulting in complete CT26 tumor regression in vivo. This action was considered to be due to apoptosis induced by NK4's potent antiangiogenic and HGF antagonistic effects.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) promotes malignant development of cancer cells by enhancing invasion and metastasis. NK4, a competitive antagonist for HGF, is a bifunctional molecule that acts as a HGF antagonist and angiogenesis inhibitor. Although successful tumor inhibition by NK4 gene expression in tumor models has been demonstrated, the effects of systemic NK4 gene introduction are yet to be addressed. Here we show that systemic administration of a replication-defective adenovirus expressing NK4 (Ad.NK4) inhibits tumor growth and lung metastasis of B16F10 melanoma and Lewis lung carcinoma in syngeneic mice. Single tail-vein injection of Ad.NK4 achieved therapeutic levels of NK4 in the circulation and in multiple organs. Despite NK4 expression that was highest in the liver, toxicity in the liver was minimal. Ad.NK4-mediated growth inhibition was associated with decreased blood vessel density and increased apoptosis in tumor tissues, which suggests that NK4 suppressed tumor growth as an angiogenesis inhibitor. Metastasis of B16F10 melanoma and Lewis lung carcinoma cells to the lung was potently inhibited by systemic Ad.NK4-administration. Our results demonstrated that the adenovirus-mediated induction of high levels of circulating NK4 significantly inhibited in vivo tumor growth and distant metastasis without obvious side effects. NK4 gene therapy is thus a safe and promising strategy for the treatment of cancer patients, and further validation in clinical trials is needed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: HGF-like protein (HLP)/macrophage stimulating protein (MSP) is the only structural relative of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), and is involved in the regulation of peripheral macrophage activation. However, the actions of HLP in microglia, a species of macrophage in the nervous system, which is closely involved in the neural degeneration and regeneration, is not yet understood. This study found that Ron, the receptor for HLP, is expressed in primary microglia using RT-PCR, immunocytochemical staining and Western blotting, and, thus, sought to elucidate the function of HLP on the primary microglia. HLP promoted microglial migration without affecting cell survival and proliferation. Furthermore, real-time quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed that HLP greatly increased the mRNA of inflammatory cytokines, including IL-6 and GM-CSF, and iNOS. These findings provide the first evidence that HLP has the potential to modulate inflammatory actions of microglia, which proposes novel aspects for the process of degeneration and/or regeneration of the brain.
Full-text · Article · May 2008 · Biomedical Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many therapeutic interventions using neurotrophic factors or pharmacological agents have focused on secondary degeneration after spinal cord injury (SCI) to reduce damaged areas and promote axonal regeneration and functional recovery. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), which was identified as a potent mitogen for mature hepatocytes and a mediator of inflammatory responses to tissue injury, has recently been highlighted as a potent neurotrophic and angiogenic factor in the central nervous system (CNS). In the present study, we revealed that the extent of endogenous HGF up-regulation was less than that of c-Met, an HGF receptor, during the acute phase of SCI and administered exogenous HGF into injured spinal cord using a replication-incompetent herpes simplex virous-1 (HSV-1) vector to determine whether HGF exerts beneficial effects and promotes functional recovery after SCI. This treatment resulted in the significant promotion of neuron and oligodendrocyte survival, angiogenesis, axonal regrowth, and functional recovery after SCI. These results suggest that HGF gene delivery to the injured spinal cord exerts multiple beneficial effects and enhances endogenous repair after SCI. This is the first study to demonstrate the efficacy of HGF for SCI.
No preview · Article · Aug 2007 · Journal of Neuroscience Research