The oral cancer cell line OC3-I5 with a highly invasive ability was selected and derived from an established OSCC line OC3. In this study, we demonstrated that matrix metalloproteinases protein MMP-13 was up-regulated in OC3-I5 than in OC3 cells. We also observed that expression of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) markers including Twist, p-Src, Snail1, SIP1, JAM-A, and vinculin were increased in OC3-I5 compared to OC3 cells, whereas E-cadherin expression was decreased in the OC3-I5 cells. Using siMMP-13 knockdown techniques, we showed that siMMP-13 not only reduced the invasion and migration, but also the adhesion abilities of oral cancer cells. In support of the role of MMP-13 in metastasis, we used MMP-13 expressing plasmid-transfected 293T cells to enhance MMP-13 expression in the OC3 cells, transplanting the MMP-13 over expressing OC3 cells into nude mice led to enhanced lung metastasis. In summary, our findings show that MMP-13 promotes invasion and metastasis in oral cancer cells, suggesting altered expression of MMP-13 may be utilized to impede the process of metastasis.
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