Dr Stéphanie Kermorgant

PhD
Reader in Cellular Oncology
Group Leader
Twitter
Research Focus

We study the role of growth factor receptor signalling and intracellular trafficking (movement inside cells) in tumour growth and metastasis in the view of improving cancer therapy.

Key Publications

A PI3K- and GTPase-independent Rac1-mTOR mechanism mediates MET-driven anchorage-independent cell growth but not migration. Science Signaling (2020) 13 (637): eaba8627. DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aba8627

Beta 1-integrin- c-Met cooperation reveals an inside-in survival signalling on Autophagy Related Endomembranes. Nature Communications (2016) 7:11942. PMID: 27336951

Receptor Tyrosine Kinase c-Met controls the cytoskeleton from different endosomes via different pathways. Nature Communications (2014) 5:3907. PMID: 24835487

Distinct c-Met Activation Mechanisms Induce Cell Rounding or Invasion Through Pathways Involving Integrins, RhoA, and Hip1. J Cell Sci (2014) 127:1938-52. PMID: 24790222

A direct role for Met endocytosis in tumorigenesis. Nat Cell Biol (2011) 13(7):827-37. PMID: 2164298

Major Funding
  • 2018-2021- Medical Research Council, Project Grant, Unravelling c-Met signalling from autophagic endomembranes, £502,856.32
  • 2018-2019- OCTIMET Oncology, Unravelling the Mode of Action of Proprietary MET Kinase Inhibitors on the Immune System and Innovative Biomarker Identification to Accelerate Valorisation of these Inhibitors, £327,480
Other Activities
  • Norwegian Cancer Society Grants External Review Panel Chair
  • Management Committee Member of London Interdisciplinary Biosciences Consortium (LIDo)
  • Academic Editor of the journal Cells
  • Reviewer Editor of the journal Frontiers in Molecular Bioscience
  • Reviewer Editor of the journal Frontiers Oncology
Research

Most solid cancers start as a small lump of abnormal cells (a tumour) that divide in an uncontrolled fashion. As primary tumours grow, some cancer cells can detach, move away and, eventually, colonise another part of the body. This aggressive process is called metastasis and is the major cause of cancer treatment failure and death. Our research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of molecule called c-Met in promoting this process of metastasis.

c-Met is overexpressed or mutated in a large number of tumours and has emerged as a major target for cancer therapy. c-Met is a tyrosine kinase receptor (RTK). Together with the protein that binds to it: its ligand, Hepatocyte Growth Factor (HGF), they are key players in tumour metastasis. They affect cell adhesion, migration, invasion, metalloproteinase activation and angiogenesis. Drugs against c-Met are being designed and some are being tested in patients in clinical trials.

Receptors such as c-Met are normally present at the surface of transformed cells in the tumour mass, where they transmit information (signals) from the outside to the inside of the cell in order to change its behaviour (divide/don’t divide; move/don’t move). However, receptors can enter cells (endocytosis) and recently have been found to transmit signals from within the cell. This is a new scientific concept that changes our understanding of how receptors function.

We study the signalling of c-Met in relation to its endosomal trafficking (how it is moved around the cell in vesicles) and the effects on tumour cell migration and invasion in vitro and in vivo. We use confocal microscopy, live imaging, biochemistry, trafficking / internalisation assays, functional assays, and in vivo tumorigenesis assays. We investigate the clinical relevance of our findings on patient samples through collaboration with clinicians. We work on breast, pancreatic, lung and ovarian cancer. We have reported that c-Met mutants found in cancer patients are oncogenic not only because they are highly activated but also because they signal on endosomes. We have shown that c-Met transmit distinct signalling pathways from different endosomes including a novel endosome we recently discovered, the “Autophagy Related Endomembrane”.

We anticipate that a better understanding of the molecular biology of intracellular c-Met will lead to improved cancer treatment.

Other Activities
  • Norwegian Cancer Society Grants External Review Panel Chair
  • Management Committee Member of London Interdisciplinary Biosciences Consortium (LIDo)
  • Academic Editor of the journal Cells
  • Reviewer Editor of the journal Frontiers in Molecular Bioscience
  • Reviewer Editor of the journal Frontiers Oncology
Major Funding
  • 2018-2021- Medical Research Council, Project Grant, Unravelling c-Met signalling from autophagic endomembranes, £502,856.32
  • 2018-2019- OCTIMET Oncology, Unravelling the Mode of Action of Proprietary MET Kinase Inhibitors on the Immune System and Innovative Biomarker Identification to Accelerate Valorisation of these Inhibitors, £327,480
Recent Publications

The role of MET in chemotherapy resistance. Wood GE, Hockings H, Hilton DM et al. Oncogene (2021) 40(2) 1927-1941
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/33526881

Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (4th edition) Klionsky DJ, Abdel-Aziz AK, Abdelfatah S et al. Autophagy (2021) (7)

The interplay between Met and autophagy in PDAC Noval A, Fletcher K, Florey O et al. Pancreatology (2020) 20(10) e7

Unconventional role of RAC1 in MET-driven anchorage-independent tumor growth. Hervieu A, Kermorgant S Mol Cell Oncol (2020) 7(2) 1803029
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/33235904

A PI3K- and GTPase-independent Rac1-mTOR mechanism mediates MET-driven anchorage-independent cell growth but not migration. Hervieu A, Heuss SF, Zhang C et al. Science Signaling (2020) 13(1)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32576681

68PC-met mediates invasion and chemotherapy resistance in high grade serous ovarian cancer Wood GE, Lockley M, Kermorgant S Annals of Oncology (2019) 30(10) vii20

c-Met signalling and endocytosis in clear cell ovarian cancer Wood GE, Heuss SF, Osagie I et al. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GYNECOLOGICAL CANCER (2018) 28(11) 95-95
http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000471153100062&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=612ae0d773dcbdba3046f6df545e9f6a

The Role of PI3K in Met Driven Cancer: A Recap. Hervieu A, Kermorgant S Front Mol Biosci (2018) 5(2) 86
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30406111

60PUnderstanding and targeting Met signalling in bladder cancer Badreldin W, Powles T, Menard L et al. Annals of Oncology (2017) 28(10) v16

Understanding and targeting Met signalling in bladder cancer Badreldin W, Powles T, Menard L et al. ANNALS OF ONCOLOGY (2017) 28(11)
http://gateway.webofknowledge.com/gateway/Gateway.cgi?GWVersion=2&SrcApp=PARTNER_APP&SrcAuth=LinksAMR&KeyUT=WOS:000411324000057&DestLinkType=FullRecord&DestApp=ALL_WOS&UsrCustomerID=612ae0d773dcbdba3046f6df545e9f6a

For additional publications, please click here
Team

Postdoctoral Researchers in this group
Dr Marie Nollet

PhD Students
Ms Brynna Hoggard, Mr Alejandro Noval

Clinical Research Fellows
Dr Waleed Badreldin, Dr Georgina Wood

Biography

I completed my PhD with Dr. Thérèse Lehy at the French National Institute of Health and Medicine (INSERM) and Paris VII University, France, in 1999.

Between 2000 and 2005, I performed postdoctoral studies with Professor Peter J Parker at the Cancer Research UK London Research Institute.

I joined the Centre for Tumour Biology at the Barts Cancer Institute in May 2005, as a Lecturer. Thanks to a “Medical Research Council New Investigator Award” and funding from the “Barts and the London Charitable Foundation”, I set up my research group “Spatial Signalling”, which is investigating the role of growth factor receptor signalling and trafficking in tumour metastasis.