Mucins are high molecular weight O-glycoproteins that are predominantly expressed at the apical surface of epithelial cells and have wide range of functions. The functional diversity is attributed to their structure that comprises of a peptide chain with unique domains and multiple carbohydrate moieties added during posttranslational modifications. Tumor cells aberrantly overexpress mucins, and thereby promote proliferation, differentiation, motility, invasion and metastasis. Along with their aberrant expression, accumulating evidence suggest the critical role of altered subcellular localization of mucins under pathological conditions due to altered endocytic processes. The mislocalization of mucins and their interactions result in change in the density and activity of important cell membrane proteins (like, receptor tyrosine kinases) to facilitate various signaling, which help cancer cells to proliferate, survive and progress to more aggressive phenotype. In this review article, we summarize studies on mucins trafficking and provide a perspective on its importance to pathological conditions and to answer critical questions including its use for therapeutic interventions.
- Plasma membrane
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