Surfactin from Bacillus subtilis attenuates ambient air particulate matter-promoted human oral cancer cells metastatic potential

Thi Thuy Tien Vo, Chiang-Wen Lee, Ching-Zong Wu, Ju-Fang Liu, Wei-Ning Lin, Yuh-Lien Chen, Lee-Fen Hsu, Ming-Horng Tsai, I-Ta Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, many studies have indicated that ambient air particulate matter (PM) can increase the risk of oral cancer. The most common malignant tumor in the oral cavity is oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). Usually, cancer cell migration/invasion is the most important cause of cancer mortality. Matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and MMP-9 have been shown to play important roles in regulating metastasis and the tumor microenvironment. Here, we studied the anti-cancer effects of surfactin, a cyclic lipopeptide generated by Bacillus subtilis, on cancer cell migration and invasion. Surfactin suppressed PM-promoted cell migration and invasion and colony formation of SCC4 and SCC25 human oral squamous cell carcinoma cell lines. We observed that PM induced MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression, which was inhibited by surfactin. Transfection with p65, p50, c-Jun, c-Fos, p85, p110, Akt, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), or interleukin-6 (IL-6) siRNA markedly inhibited PM-induced MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression. Moreover, surfactin could reduce Akt, mTOR, p65, and c-Jun activation and IL-6 secretion induced by PM. Finally, we proved that transfection with Akt, p65, or c-Jun siRNA significantly inhibited PM-induced IL-6 release. Taken together, these results suggest that surfactin functions as a suppressor of PM-induced MMP2/9-dependent oral cancer cell migration and invasion by inhibiting the activation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mTOR and PI3K/Akt/nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and activator protein-1 (AP-1)/IL-6 signaling pathways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6038-6049
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cancer
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Invasion
  • Matrix metalloproteinase
  • Oral cancer
  • Particulate matter
  • Surfactin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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