Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), keratinocyte growth factor (KGF), and their receptors in human breast cells and tissues: alternative receptors.
We sought to determine whether the hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF)- and keratinocyte growth factor-receptor systems were expressed in normal breast cells, breast carcinoma cell lines, normal breast tissues, and breast cancer tissues. Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction and hot blotting were used to detect HGF, HGF/SF (met) receptor, KGF, and KGF receptor mRNAs in human mammary epithelial (HME) and stromal (HMS) cells. We also examined breast carcinoma (MDA-MB-157, SCC 38, and SCC 70) and spontaneously immortalized breast epithelial (HMT 3522) cell lines, as well as normal breast and breast carcinoma tissues. PCR products were also confirmed by nucleic acid sequencing. The effects of HGF and KGF, compared to EGF and heparin-binding EGF, on the proliferation of normal human mammary epithelial cells in serum-free defined medium was determined by cell counting. HGF and KGF mRNAs were detected in HMS cells, but not HME cells. KGF receptor mRNA was detected in HME cells, but not HMS cells. HGF/SF receptor mRNA was detected in both HME and HMS cells. mRNAs were also detected in normal breast and breast carcinoma tissues, as well as breast carcinoma and transformed breast epithelial cell lines. Alternative cDNA sequences that are predicted to code for a soluble KGF receptor and a membrane bound, truncated HGF/SF receptor were detected in breast epithelial cells and breast tissues. HGF and KGF maintained viability and stimulated proliferation of HME cells.