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Membrane mucins of the intestine at a glance

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Thaher Pelaseyed
Gunnar C. Hansson
Publicerad i Journal of Cell Science
Volym 133
Nummer/häfte 5
Sidor 7
ISSN 0021-9533
Publiceringsår 2020
Publicerad vid Institutionen för biomedicin, avdelningen för medicinsk kemi och cellbiologi
Sidor 7
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1242/jcs.240929
Ämnesord Barrier, Glycocalyx, Intestine, Microvilli, Mucus, Mucin, growth-factor receptor, cell-surface mucin, o-glycosylation, transmembrane mucins, DNA methylation, cystic-fibrosis, gastric-mucosa, mucus layers, c-terminus, sea domain, Cell Biology
Ämneskategorier Cellbiologi


Membrane mucins cover most mucosal surfaces throughout the human body. The intestine harbors complex population of microorganisms (the microbiota) and numerous exogenous molecules that can harm the epithelium. In the colon, where the microbial burden is high, a mucus barrier forms the first line of defense by keeping bacteria away from the epithelial cells. In the small intestine where the mucus layer is less organized, microbes are kept at bay by peristalsis and antimicrobial peptides. Additionally, a dense glycocalyx consisting of extended and heavily glycosylated membrane mucins covers the surface of enterocytes. Whereas many aspects of mucosal barriers are being discovered, the function of membrane mucins remains a largely overlooked topic, mainly because we lack the necessary reagents and experimental animal models to investigate these large glycoproteins. In this Cell Science at a Glance article and accompanying poster, we highlight central concepts of membrane mucin biology and the role of membrane mucins as integral components of intestinal mucosal barriers. We also present the current consensus concerning the role of membrane mucins in host-microbe interactions. Moreover, we discuss how regulatory circuits that govern membrane mucins in the healthy gut display strong overlap with pathways that are perturbed during chronic inflammation. Finally, we review how dysregulation of intestinal membrane mucins may contribute to human diseases, such as inflammation and cancer.

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