Macroautophagy/autophagy is an evolutionarily conserved degradative process with a central role in maintaining cellular homeostasis under conditions of stress, and recent evidence suggests this may occur in part through direct modification of cell signaling. The MET/HGF receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling axis is an important mediator of cell motility and invasion in normal cell functions and in cancer. We discovered a role for autophagy in regulating ligand-activated MET signaling and cellular responses. When autophagy is induced by starvation, the HGF-activated and internalized MET RTK is selectively recruited for autophagic degradation through complex formation with the MAP1LC3C autophagy protein. Decreased LC3C expression in cancer results in loss of autophagic degradation of MET and enhanced HGF-stimulated cell invasion implicated in metastatic progression. This emerging role for autophagy in selectively regulating signaling proteins has implications for understanding cellular adaptations to stress and the functions of autophagy at different stages of cancer progression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology