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Biochem J. Oct 15, 2000; 351(Pt 2): 421–428.
PMCID: PMC1221378

Macromolecular organization of saliva: identification of 'insoluble' MUC5B assemblies and non-mucin proteins in the gel phase.


Stimulated human submandibular/sublingual (HSMSL) and whole saliva were separated into sol and gel phases and mucins were isolated by density-gradient centrifugation in CsCl/4M guanidinium chloride. MUC5B and MUC7 were identified using anti-peptide antisera raised against sequences within the MUC5B and MUC7 apoproteins respectively. MUC7 was found mainly in the sol phase of both HSMSL and whole saliva, but some MUC7 was consistently present in the gel phase, suggesting that this mucin may interact with the salivary gel matrix. In HSMSL saliva, MUC5B was found in the gel phase; however, most of the material was 'insoluble' in guanidinium chloride and was only brought into solution by reduction. In whole saliva, the MUC5B mucin was present both in the sol and gel phases although some material was again 'insoluble'. Rate-zonal centrifugation of whole saliva showed that MUC5B mucins in the sol phase were smaller than those in the gel phase, suggesting differences in oligomerization and/or degradation. Antibodies against IgA, secretory component, lysozyme and lactoferrin were used to study the distribution of non-gel-forming proteins in the different phases of saliva. The majority of these proteins was found in the sol phase of both HSMSL and whole saliva. However, a significant fraction was present in the gel phase of whole saliva, suggesting a post-secretory interaction with the salivary gel matrix. A monoclonal antibody against a parotid salivary agglutinin was used to show that this protein is present mainly in the gel phase of both whole saliva and parotid secretion.

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Selected References

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