How to make tubes: signaling by the Met receptor tyrosine kinase

Trends Cell Biol. 2003 Jun;13(6):328-35. doi: 10.1016/s0962-8924(03)00104-1.


Hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF), acting through the receptor tyrosine kinase Met, stimulates cells derived from a variety of different organs to form elongated hollow tubules when grown in three-dimensional gels. In vivo data also indicate a role for HGF/SF and Met in tubule formation during liver and kidney regeneration and mammary gland formation. Activation of Met results in the recruitment of a myriad of signal transducers that regulate dissociation of adherens junctions and the stimulation of cellular motility, survival, proliferation and morphogenesis during tubule formation. Among these many signal transducers, the Gab1 adaptor protein and its effector, the SHP2 tyrosine phosphatase, have been found to be crucial for tubulogenesis and for the sustained stimulation of the ERK/MAP kinase pathway. Here, we discuss the contribution of these and other signaling pathways and the role of HGF/SF and Met in the formation of epithelial cell tubules both in vitro in branching-morphogenesis assays and in vivo during organogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases