Hepatocyte growth factor, also known as HGF, contains 4 kringle domains, 1 PAN domain and 1 peptidase S1 domain. It belongs to the peptidase S1 family, plasminogen subfamily. Hepatocyte growth factor is secreted by mesenchymal cellsas a single inactive polypeptide and is cleaved by serine proteases into a 69-kDa alpha-chain and 34-kDa beta-chain. A disulfide bond between the alpha and beta chains produces the active, heterodimeric molecule. Hepatocyte growth factor regulates cell growth, cell motility, and morphogenesis by activating a tyrosine kinase signaling cascade after binding to the proto-oncogenic c-Met receptor, and acts as a multi-functional cytokine on cells of mainly epithelial origin. Its ability to stimulate mitogenesis, cell motility, and matrix invasion gives it a central role in angiogenesis, tumorogenesis, and tissue regeneration. HGF is a potent mitogen for mature parenchymal hepatocyte cells, seems to be an hepatotrophic factor, and acts as growth factor for a broad spectrum of tissues and cell types. HGF has no detectable protease activity. Defects in hepatocyte growth factor are the cause of deafness autosomal recessive type 39. A form of profound prelingual sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural deafness results from damage to the neural receptors of the inner ear, the nerve pathways to the brain, or the area of the brain that receives sound information.
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