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 Two-pronged roles of HGF.
Dynamic migration and morphogenesis and promotion of cell survival mediated by the HGF-MET pathway play roles in tissue regeneration and protection (right part). In tumor tissues, dynamic cell migration and cancer cell survival promoted by MET participate in metastasis and drug resistance (left part).