Hepatocyte Growth Factor/Scatter Factor Blocks the Mitochondrial Pathway of Apoptosis Signaling in Breast Cancer Cells

Min Gao, Saijun Fan, Itzhak D. Goldberg, John Laterra, Richard N. Kitsis, Eliot M. Rosen

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43 Scopus citations


The cytokine hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) has been found to protect a variety of epithelial and cancer cell types against cytotoxicity and apoptosis induced by DNA damage, but the specific apoptotic signaling events and the levels at which they are blocked by HGF/SF have not been identified. We found that treatment of MDA-MB-453 human breast cancer cells with adriamycin (also known as doxorubicin, a DNA topoisomerase IIα inhibitor) induced a series of time-dependent events, including the mitochondrial release of cytochrome c and apoptosis-inducing factor, mitochondrial membrane depolarization, activation of a set of caspases (caspase-9, -3, -7, -2, and -8), cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), and up-regulation of expression of the Fas ligand. All of these events were blocked by preincubation of the cells with HGF/SF. In contrast, the pan-caspase inhibitor benzyloxycarbonyl-VAD-fluoromethylketone blocked some of these events (e.g. caspase-3 activation and PARP cleavage) but did not block cytochrome c release or mitochondrial depolarization. These findings suggest that HGF/SF functions, in part, upstream of the mitochondria to block mitochondrial apoptosis signaling, prevent activation of multiple caspases, and protect breast cancer cells against apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47257-47265
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number50
Publication statusPublished - Dec 14 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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