Research Assistant Professor
HGF (hepatocyte growth factor) exerts biological activities such as promotion of cell growth, survival, migration, and 3-D morphogenesis through the MET receptor (Fig. 1). HGF supports tissue regeneration and protection, while HGF participates in tumor invasion-metastasis and drug resistance in cancer tissues (Fig. 2). Through cross-cutting research with chemical biotechnology, nano-molecular dynamics, and structural biology, we focus following issues: (1) the mechanism of tumor microenvironment formation revealed by macrocyclic peptides that bind to HGF and MET receptor, (2) drug discovery using HGF/MET-binding macrocyclic peptides, (3) the involvement of HGF-MET in innate immunity, (4) dynamic structural biology for MET activation, (5) application of artificial HGF to regenerative medicine.
Fig.1 Outline structures of HGF, MET receptor, and artificial HGF.
HGF is composed of 697 amino acids. Artificial HGF composed of bivalent macrocyclic HGF has comparable biological activities to HGF (Nature Commun, 6: 6373, 2015).
Fig.2 Physiological roles of HGF in regeneration and tumor progression.
HGF plays roles in tissue regeneration and 3-D morphogenesis. In cancer tissues, HGF plays a definitive role in invasion, metastasis, and drug resistance. MET activation by HGF or artificial HGF become therapeutics for treatment of diseases, while the detection and inhibition of HGF-MET become anti-cancer diagnosis and therapeutics.