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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 1998 Jul;30(7):797-801.

The MUC2 gene product: a human intestinal mucin.

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  • 1Department of Physiological Sciences, Medical School, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


The MUC2 gene product is the first human secretory mucin protein core to be fully sequenced. Like the other eight human MUC genes identified to date, MUC2 is characterised by tandem and irregular repeat sequences rich in threonine and serine, the potential sites of attachment of the oligosaccharide chains. The MUC2 gene product is more than 5100 amino acids in its commonest allelic form and accounts for one fifth by weight of the mucin glycoprotein molecule (80% oligosaccharide side chains). The MUC2 product is polymerised end to end through disulphide bridges to form large secreted polymeric gel-forming mucins (Mr approximately 10(7)). The primary function of the MUC2 gene product is to provide a protective barrier between the epithelial surfaces and the gut lumen. There is decreased expression of MUC2 in colonic cancer and defective polymerisation of secreted mucin in ulcerative colitis. Elucidation of the MUC2 and other mucin gene sequences has opened the way for a full structural characterisation and an improved understanding of the structure and function of these complex mucus gel secretions.

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