Principal investigator: Youhua Liu, PhD
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), via its c-met receptor, is an important regulator of kidney development, growth and function and plays a central role in the repair of renal epithelia after injury. Induction of c-met expression is believed to be crucial to renal regeneration, not only because it leads to increased overall activity of this receptor-ligand system, but also possibly because it targets HGF action specifically to renal epithelia.
Studies in our laboratory are currently focused on understanding the molecular mechanism(s) underlying c-met expression in renal epithelial cells. These studies are involved in identifying the cis-acting sequences critical for c-met constitutive and inducible expression, and characterizing their cognate trans-acting regulatory factors.
Using a unique autocrine HGF/c-met cell line recently established in our laboratory, we are also investigating the effects of HGF/c-met signaling system on renal epithelial cell survival, proliferation, repair and differentiation following injury. These studies promise to provide important insights into the transcriptional regulation of c-met expression and its function in renal epithelial cells in both physiologic and pathophysiologic settings.