Functional and molecular interactions between the HGF/c-Met pathway and c-Myc in large-cell medulloblastoma

Yunqing Li, Fadila Guessous, Elizabeth B. Johnson, Charles G. Eberhart, Xiao Nan Li, Qing Shu, Shongshan Fan, Bachchu Lal, John Laterra, David Schiff, Roger Abounader

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The growth factor hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), also known as scatter factor, and its tyrosine kinase receptor c-Met play important roles in medulloblastoma malignancy. The transcription factor c-Myc is another contributor to the malignancy of these most common pediatric brain tumors. In the present study, we observed strong morphological similarities between medulloblastoma xenografts overexpressing HGF and medulloblastoma xenografts overexpressing c-Myc. We therefore hypothesized a biologically significant link between HGF/c-Met and c-Myc in medulloblastoma malignancy and studied the molecular and functional interactions between them. We found that HGF induces c-Myc mRNA and protein in established and primary medulloblastoma cells. HGF regulated c-Myc levels via transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms as evidenced by HGF induction of c-Myc promoter activity and induction of c-Myc protein levels in the setting of inhibited transcription and translation. We also found that HGF induces cell cycle progression, cell proliferation, apoptosis and increase in cell size in a c-Myc-dependent manner. Activation of MAPK and PI3K, inhibition of GSK-3β and translocation of β-catenin to the nucleus as well as Tcf/Lef transcriptional activity were involved in mediating c-Myc induction by HGF. Induction of Cdk2 kinase activity was involved in mediating the cell cycle progression effects, and downregulation of Bcl-XL was involved in mediating the proapoptotic effects of HGF downstream of c-Myc. All molecules that mediated the effects of HGF on c-Myc expression, cell proliferation and apoptosis were expressed in human large-cell medulloblastoma tissues. We therefore established for the first time a functional cooperation between HGF/c-Met and c-Myc in human medulloblastoma and elucidated the molecular mechanisms of this cooperation. The findings provide a potential explanation for the high frequency of c-Myc overexpression in medulloblastoma and suggest a cooperative role for c-Met and c-Myc in large-cell anaplastic medulloblastoma formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-111
Number of pages14
JournalLaboratory Investigation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Embryonal CNS tumors
  • Hepatocyte growth factor
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Scatter factor
  • c-Met
  • c-Myc

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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