Functional heterogeneity of colonic adenocarcinoma mucins for inhibition of Entamoeba histolytica adherence to target cells

Markus U. Göttke, Kathy Keller, Adam Belley, Rosa Maria Garcia, Michael A. Hollingsworth, David R. Mack, Kris Chadee

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25 Scopus citations


Mucins secreted from the gastrointestinal epithelium form the basis of the adherent mucus layer which is the host's first line of defense against invasion by Entamoeba histolytica. Galactose and N-acetyl-D-galactosamine residues of mucins specifically inhibit binding of the amebic 170 kDa heavy subunit Gal-lectin to target cells, an absolute prerequisite for pathogenesis. Herein we characterized the secretory mucins isolated from the human colon and from three human colonic adenocarcinoma cell lines: two with goblet cell-like (LS174T and T84) and one with absorptive cell-like morphology (Caco-2). By Northern blot analysis the intestinal mucin genes MUC2 and MUC3 were constitutively expressed by confluent LS174T and Caco-2 cells, whereas T84 cells only transcribed MUC2 and not MUC3 mRNA. 3H-glucosamine and 3H-threonine metabolically labeled proteins separated as high M(r) mucins in the void (V(o) > 106 Da) of Sepharose-4B column chromatography and remained in the stacking gel of SDS-PAGE as depicted by fluorography. All mucin preparations contained high amounts of N-acetyl-glucosamine, galactose, N-acetyl-galactosamine, fucose and sialic acid, saccharides typical of the O-linked carbohydrate side chains. Mucin samples from the human colon and from LS174T and Caco-2 cells inhibited E. histolytica adherence to chinese hamster ovary cells, whereas mucins from T84 cells did not. These results suggest that genetic heterogeneity and/or posttranslational modification in glycosylation of colonic mucins can affect specific epithelial barrier function against intestinal pathogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17S-23S
JournalJournal of Eukaryotic Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Colon
  • Entamoeba histolytica
  • Mucins
  • Mucus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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