Oral fibroblasts stimulated invasion of oral-carcinoma cells into the collagen matrix. The mechanisms of the fibroblast-induced stimulation of invasiveness was further investigated by examining cell motility and proteolytic activity of tumor cells, using mainly an adenoid-cystic-carcinoma cell line (ACCS) and normal fibroblasts from gingival tissues. Conditioned medium from the fibroblasts grown in serum-free medium was fractionated on a Superdex 200 pg column, and Peak 1 eluted at 200 to 300 kDa and Peak 2 eluted at 50 to 100 kDa were found to contain different specific activity. Treatment of ACCS cells with Peak 1 resulted in an increase in the production of proteolytic enzymes. Peak 2 stimulated both chemotaxis and chemokinesis of ACCS cells. A chemotactic factor was purified from the heparin-unbound fraction of Peak 2 by anion exchange and hydrophobic chromatography, and was named “fibroblastderived motility factor (FDMF)”. At 1 μg/ml, FDMF stimulated chemotaxis of ACCS cells by 4-fold compared with unstimulated controls. Characterization of the physicochemical properties of FDMF suggested that it might be different from any known motility factors. Exposure of ACCS cells to FDMF resulted in reduced amounts of actin stress fiber in the cytoplasm and induction of tyrosine phosphorylation of several cellular proteins detectable 30 to 60 min after treatment. These FDMF-induced changes were blocked by pre-treatment either with genistein or with pertussis toxin. These findings suggest that FDMF may be a novel protein which stimulates cell motility via a signaling pathway mediated by a pertussis-toxin-sensitive G protein and tyrosine phosphorylation. © 1996 Wiley-Liss, Inc.