Agonistic monoclonal antibodies potentiate tumorigenic and invasive activities of splicing variant of the RON receptor tyrosine kinase

Cancer Biol Ther. 2006 Sep;5(9):1179-86. doi: 10.4161/cbt.5.9.3073. Epub 2006 Sep 11.


Ligand-dependent or independent activation of the RON receptor tyrosine kinase is essential in transducing invasive signals leading to increased tumorigenic activities. In this study, we characterized two monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) specific to the extracellular domains of human RON and studied their agonistic effect on tumorigenic activities mediated by oncogenic variant RONDelta160. The mAb Zt/g4 and Zt/c1 are specific to human RON. They bind to RON with high affinities and recognized different epitopes on the RON extracellular domain. Because of their reactivity with native RON, Zt/g4 and Zt/c1 are useful in various applications such as immunoprecipitation, immunofluorescent analysis, and immunohistochemical staining. Functional studies revealed that Zt/g4 and Zt/c1 are capable of inducing RON phosphorylation which activates signaling proteins such as Erk1/2 and Akt. In NIH3T3 cells expressing RONDelta160, both mAbs significantly enhanced RONDelta160-mediated tumorigenic activities including cell proliferation, focus formation, and anchorage-independent growth. Cell shape changes with increased motile and invasive activities were also observed. Studies in vivo further demonstrated that Zt/g4 and Zt/c1 increase RONDelta160-mediated tumor growth in nude mice with a shortened time of onset and enlarged tumor volume. Thus, by recognizing specific epitopes on the RON extracellular domains, Zt/g4 and Zt/c1 have abilities to elicit a full array of RON-mediated responses. These mAbs will be useful in studying mechanisms underlying RON activation which lead to increased tumorigenic activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / biosynthesis
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology*
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / immunology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3 / metabolism
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / immunology
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Epitopes
  • RON protein
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Oncogene Protein v-akt
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 1
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3