Human RON receptor tyrosine kinase induces complete epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition but causes cellular senescence.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Biochemical and biophysical research communications, Volume 360, Issue 1, p.219-25 (2007)


2007, Animals, Cell Aging, Cell Differentiation, Cell Line, Cell Movement, Cell Proliferation, Dogs, Epithelial Cells, Humans, Kidney, Mesoderm, Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases


The RON receptor tyrosine kinase is a member of the MET proto-oncogene family and is important for cell proliferation, differentiation, and cancer development. Here, we created a series of Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) epithelial cell clones that express different levels of RON, and have investigated their biological properties. While low levels of RON correlated with little morphological change in MDCK cells, high levels of RON expression constitutively led to morphological scattering or complete and stabilized epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Unexpectedly, MDCK clones expressing higher levels of RON exhibited retarded proliferation and senescence, despite increased motility and invasiveness. RON was constitutively tyrosine-phosphorylated in MDCK cells expressing high levels of RON and undergoing EMT, and the MAPK signaling pathway was activated. This study reveals for the first time that RON alone is sufficient to induce complete and stabilized EMT in MDCK cells, and overexpression of RON does not cause cell transformation but rather induces cell cycle arrest and senescence, leading to impaired cell proliferation.