The survival role and the potential therapeutic targeting of MET in multiple myeloma

Cornel Phillip, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Multiple myeloma (MM) is a debilitating and incurable B-cell malignancy. Previous studies have documented that the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) plays a role in the pathobiology of MM. The receptor tyrosine kinase MET induced signaling initiates when its ligand HGF binds to the MET receptor. However, the direct importance of MET in MM has not been elucidated. The present work used three different but complementary approaches to reduce MET protein levels or its activity to demonstrate the importance of MET in MM. In the first approach, MET transcript and protein levels were reduced by directly targeting the cellular MET transcripts using shRNA retroviral infection techniques. This direct reduction of MET mRNA leads to a reduction of MET protein levels, which caused an inhibition of growth and induction of cell death. In the second approach, a global transcription inhibitor flavopiridol was used as a potential pharmacological tool to reduce MET levels. MET has a short half-life of 30 min for mRNA and 4 hours for protein; therefore using a RNA pol II inhibitor such as flavopiridol would be a viable option to reduce MET levels. When using flavopiridol in MM cell lines, there was a reduction of MET transcript and protein levels, which was associated with the induction of cell death. Finally in the last strategy, MET kinase activity was suppressed by MP470, a small molecule inhibitor that binds to the ATP binding pocket in the kinase domain. At concentrations where phosphorylation of MET was inhibited there was induction of cell death in MM cell lines and primary cells from patients. In addition, in MM cell lines there was a decrease in phosphorylation of AKT (ser473) and caspase-9 (ser196); downstream of MET, suggesting that the mechanism of action for survival may be through these cascade of events. Overall, this study provides a proof-of-principle that MET is important for the survival of MM cell lines as well as primary plasma cells obtained from patients. Therefore, targeting MET therapeutically may be a possible strategy to treat patients with this debilitating disease of MM.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Medicine

Recommended Citation

Phillip, Cornel, "The survival role and the potential therapeutic targeting of MET in multiple myeloma" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3376897.