by Yi-Jun Qi, Ye-Lin Jiao, Pan Chen, Jin-Yu Kong, Bian-Li Gu, Ke Liu, Dan-Dan Feng, Ya-Fei Zhu, Hao-Jie Ruan, Zi-Jun Lan, Qi-Wei Liu, You-Jia Mi, Xiang-Qian Guo, Ming Wang, Gao-Feng Liang, Richard J. Lamont, Huizhi Wang, Fu-You Zhou, Xiao-Shan Feng, She-Gan Gao
Microbial dysbiosis in the upper digestive tract is linked to an increased risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). Overabundance of Porphyromonas gingivalis is associated with shorter survival of ESCC patients. We investigated the molecular mechanisms driving aggressive progression of ESCC by P. gingivalis. Intracellular invasion of P. gingivalis potentiated proliferation, migration, invasion, and metastasis abilities of ESCC cells via transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ)-dependent Drosophila mothers against decapentaplegic homologs (Smads)/Yes-associated protein (YAP)/Transcriptional coactivator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ) activation. Smads/YAP/TAZ/TEA domain transcription factor1 (TEAD1) complex formation was essential to initiate downstream target gene expression, inducing an epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and stemness features. Furthermore, P. gingivalis augmented secretion and bioactivity of TGFβ through glycoprotein A repetitions predominant (GARP) up-regulation. Accordingly, disruption of either the GARP/TGFβ axis or its activated Smads/YAP/TAZ complex abrogated the tumor-promoting role of P. gingivalis. P. gingivalis signature genes based on its activated effector molecules can efficiently distinguish ESCC patients into low- and high-risk groups. Targeting P. gingivalis or its activated effectors may provide novel insights into clinical management of ESCC.