Research Assistant Professor
HGF (hepatocyte growth factor) exerts biological activities, including cell proliferation, survival, and 3-D morphogenesis through activation of its receptor MET. HGF-MET receptor activation participates in tissue regeneration and protection, while it is associated with malignant behavior of cancer, i.e., invasion, metastasis, and drug resistance (survival of cancer cells even in the presence of anticancer agent). By cross-disciplinary research with innovative molecular technology, we have progressed basic research on tumor microenvironment and diagnosis/therapeutics of diseases. Currently, following research are ongoing. 1) roles and mechanisms of HGF-MET pathway activation in metastatic niche formation, 2) application of innovative molecular engineering technology to create MET-activating and HGF-targeting proteins for diagnosis and therapeutics, 3) structural elucidation of dynamic MET receptor activation using high-speed AFM (atomic force microscopy).
Fig. 1. Two-pronged roles of HGF.
Dynamic morphogenesis and cell survival promoted 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).