The tyrosin kinase Met receptor regulates multiple cellular events, ranging from cell motility and angiogenesis to morphological differentiation and tissue regeneration. To conduce these activities, the cytoplasmic C-terminal region of this receptor acts as a docking site for multiple protein substrates, including Grb 2, Gab 1, STAT 3, Shc, SHIP-1 and Src. These substrates are characterised by the presence of multiple domains, including the PH, PTB, SH 2 and SH 3 domains, which directly interact with the multisubstrate C-terminal region of Met. How this receptor recognises and binds a specific substrate in a space-temporal mode is a central question in cell signalling. The recently solved crystal structure of the tyrosine kinase domain of the Met receptor and that of domains of diverse Met substrates provides the molecular framework to understand Met substrate specificity. This structural information also gives new insights on the plasticity of Met signalling and the implications of Met deregulation in tumorigenic processes. In the light of these advances, the present work discusses the molecular basis of Met-substrate recognition and its functional implications in signalling events mediated by this pleiotropic receptor.
(Mol Cell Biochem 276: 143-148, 2005).