Pro-metastatic signaling by c-Met through RAC-1 and reactive oxygen species (ROS)

Oncogene. 2006 Jun 22;25(26):3689-98. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1209409. Epub 2006 Feb 6.


Overexpression of the c-Met/hepatocyte growth factor receptor(HGF-R) proto-oncogene and abnormal generation of intracellular oxygen species (reactive oxygen species (ROS)) have been linked, by independent lines of evidence, to cell transformation and to malignant growth. By comparing two subpopulations of the B16 mouse melanoma (B16-F0 and B16-F10) endowed with different lung metastasis capacities (low and high, respectively) we found that both the expression/phosphorylation of c-Met and the steady-state levels of ROS positively correlated with metastatic growth. shRNA-mediated downregulation of c-Met in F10 cells led to a parallel decrease in the generation of oxygen species and in metastatic capacity, suggesting that oxidants may mediate the pro-metastatic activity of the HGF receptor. c-Met activation by a ligand elicits the formation of oxidant species through the oxidase-coupled small GTPase Rac-1, a relevant downstream target of the HGF-R. Moreover, cell treatment with the catalytic ROS scavengers EUK-134 and EUK-189 attenuates Met signaling to ERKs and inhibits the anchorage-independent growth of F10 cells, consistent with a critical role for oxygen species in HGF signaling and in aggressive cell behavior. Finally, genetic manipulation of the Rac-ROS cascade at different levels demonstrated its crucial role in the pro-metastatic activity of c-Met in vivo. Thus, we have outlined a novel cascade triggered by c-Met and mediated by ROS, linked to metastasis and potentially targetable by new antimetastatic, redox-based therapies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Melanoma, Experimental / metabolism
  • Melanoma, Experimental / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Metastasis*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Organometallic Compounds / pharmacology
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / metabolism*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Salicylates / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects
  • Superoxides / metabolism
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein


  • EUK-134
  • EUK-189
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Neuropeptides
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Rac1 protein, mouse
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Salicylates
  • Superoxides
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met
  • rac GTP-Binding Proteins
  • rac1 GTP-Binding Protein