Digestive Diseases and Sciences

, Volume 63, Issue 5, pp 1210–1218 | Cite as

Fusobacterium nucleatum Potentiates Intestinal Tumorigenesis in Mice via a Toll-Like Receptor 4/p21-Activated Kinase 1 Cascade

  • Yaxin Wu
  • Jiao Wu
  • Ting Chen
  • Qing Li
  • Wei Peng
  • Huan Li
  • Xiaowei Tang
  • Xiangsheng Fu
Original Article



The underlying pathogenic mechanism of Fusobacterium nucleatum in the carcinogenesis of colorectal cancer has been poorly understood.


Using C57BL/6-ApcMin/+ mice, we investigated gut microbial structures with F. nucleatum, antibiotics, and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) antagonist TAK-242 treatment. In addition, we measured intestinal tumor formation and the expression of TLR4, p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1), phosphorylated-PAK1 (p-PAK1), phosphorylated-β-catenin S675 (p-β-catenin S675), and cyclin D1 in mice with different treatments.


Fusobacterium nucleatum and antibiotics treatment altered gut microbial structures in mice. In addition, F. nucleatum invaded into the intestinal mucosa in large amounts but were less abundant in the feces of F. nucleatum-fed mice. The average number and size of intestinal tumors in F. nucleatum groups was significantly increased compared to control groups in ApcMin/+ mice (P < 0.05). The expression of TLR4, PAK1, p-PAK1, p-β-catenin S675, and cyclin D1 was significantly increased in F. nucleatum groups compared to the control groups (P < 0.05). Moreover, TAK-242 significantly decreased the average number and size of intestinal tumors compared to F. nucleatum groups (P < 0.05). The expression of p-PAK1, p-β-catenin S675, and cyclin D1 was also significantly decreased in the TAK-242-treated group compared to F. nucleatum groups (P < 0.05).


Fusobacterium nucleatum potentiates intestinal tumorigenesis in ApcMin/+ mice via a TLR4/p-PAK1/p-β-catenin S675 cascade. Fusobacterium nucleatum-induced intestinal tumorigenesis can be inhibited by TAK-242, implicating TLR4 as a potential target for the prevention and therapy of F. nucleatum-related colorectal cancer.


Fusobacterium nucleatum Colorectal cancer β-Catenin signaling Toll-like receptor 4 p21-activated kinase 1 



This work was supported by Grants from Natural Science Foundation of the Sichuan Science and Technology Agency (No. 201665).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yaxin Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiao Wu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ting Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Qing Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wei Peng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huan Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaowei Tang
    • 1
  • Xiangsheng Fu
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GastroenterologyThe Affiliated Hospital of Southwest Medical UniversityLuzhouChina
  2. 2.Endoscopy CenterThe Affiliated Hospital of Southwest Medical UniversityLuzhouChina

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