Gene Summary

Gene:MUC3A; mucin 3A, cell surface associated
Aliases: MUC3, MUC-3A
Summary:The mucin genes encode epithelial glycoproteins, some of which are secreted and some membrane bound. Each of the genes contains at least one large domain of tandemly repeated sequence that encodes the peptide sequence rich in serine and/or threonine residues, which carries most of the O-linked glycosylation (Gendler and Spicer, 1995 [PubMed 7778880]).[supplied by OMIM, Aug 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 28 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: MUC3A (cancer-related)

Eikawa S, Udono H
[Regulation of T-cell immune exhaustion and cancer immunotherapy].
Gan To Kagaku Ryoho. 2014; 41(9):1066-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
In chronic infectious diseases and cancer, CD8⁺ T cells specific for viral and/or tumor antigens undergo repeated T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation due to the persistence of pathogens or cancer cells, gradually losing their ability to secrete interleukin 2 (IL-2), tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a), and interferon-g (IFN-g). These CD8⁺ T cells are finally eliminated by apoptosis, a process referred to as immune exhaustion. The worsening immune function is accompanied by phenotypic changes in CD8⁺ T cells, for example, by changes in the expression of exhaustion markers such as programmed cell death protein 1(PD-1), cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4), T cell immunoglobulin mucin 3 (TIM-3), and lymphocyte activation gene 3 (LAG-3). The exhaustion molecules on CD8⁺ T cells interact with their respective ligands and induce negative signals in activated T cells, leading to CD8⁺ T cell dysfunction. In 2013, the combined use of anti-PD-1 and anti- CTLA-4 antibodies was shown to induce extraordinary anti-tumor effects in patients with advanced melanoma. The regulation of exhausted CD8⁺ T cells has now emerged as a promising therapy to treat cancer.

Jajosky AN, Coad JE, Vos JA, et al.
RepSox slows decay of CD34+ acute myeloid leukemia cells and decreases T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 expression.
Stem Cells Transl Med. 2014; 3(7):836-48 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Despite initial response to therapy, most acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients relapse. To eliminate relapse-causing leukemic stem/progenitor cells (LPCs), patient-specific immune therapies may be required. In vitro cellular engineering may require increasing the "stemness" or immunogenicity of tumor cells and activating or restoring cancer-impaired immune-effector and antigen-presenting cells. Leukapheresis samples provide the cells needed to engineer therapies: LPCs to be targeted, normal hematopoietic stem cells to be spared, and cancer-impaired immune cells to be repaired and activated. This study sought to advance development of LPC-targeted therapies by exploring nongenetic ways to slow the decay and to increase the immunogenicity of primary CD34(+) AML cells. CD34(+) AML cells generally displayed more colony-forming and aldehyde dehydrogenase activity than CD34(-) AML cells. Along with exposure to bone marrow stromal cells and low (1%-5%) oxygen, culture with RepSox (a reprogramming tool and inhibitor of transforming growth factor-β receptor 1) consistently slowed decline of CD34(+) AML and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) cells. RepSox-treated AML cells displayed higher CD34, CXCL12, and MYC mRNA levels than dimethyl sulfoxide-treated controls. RepSox also accelerated loss of T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (Tim-3), an immune checkpoint receptor that impairs antitumor immunity, from the surface of AML and MDS cells. Our results suggest RepSox may reduce Tim-3 expression by inhibiting transforming growth factor-β signaling and slow decay of CD34(+) AML cells by increasing CXCL12 and MYC, two factors that inhibit AML cell differentiation. By prolonging survival of CD34(+) AML cells and reducing Tim-3, RepSox may promote in vitro immune cell activation and advance development of LPC-targeted therapies.

Roth CG, Garner K, Eyck ST, et al.
TIM3 expression by leukemic and non-leukemic myeloblasts.
Cytometry B Clin Cytom. 2013; 84(3):167-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: T-cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (TIM3) has recently been described as an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) stem cell antigen expressed on leukemic myeloblasts, but not on normal hematopoietic stem cells. TIM3 is also expressed by monocytes, natural killer cells, and several T cell subsets; however, normal myeloblasts have not been well-characterized or compared to AML. A specific flow cytometric marker capable of separating leukemic myeloblasts from non-neoplastic myeloblasts would be diagnostically useful, especially in the post-chemotherapy setting.
METHODS: TIM3 myeloblast expression was assessed in 69 bone marrow and/or peripheral blood specimens, including 27 AML and 42 non-neoplastic cases (20 with a recent history of chemotherapy). TIM3 median fluorescence intensity (MFI) was evaluated within myeloblast, monocyte, T cell, and natural killer cell populations.
RESULTS: The median percentage of myeloblasts positive for TIM3 was lower in non-neoplastic specimens without a history of recent chemotherapy (50.3%) as compared to AML (71.4%), but not significantly different as compared to non-leukemic myeloblasts in the post-chemotherapy setting (72.4%). Mean myeloblast TIM3 MFI was higher in AML myeloblasts and non-leukemic myeloblasts in the post-chemotherapy setting as compared to non-neoplastic myeloblasts in cases lacking a history of chemotherapy. Mean monocyte, natural killer cell, and T-cell TIM3 MFI remained relatively constant in varied clinical settings.
CONCLUSIONS: We confirm that leukemic myeloblasts overexpress TIM3 as compared to non-neoplastic controls; however, high levels of expression may also be seen among non-leukemic myeloblasts in the post-chemotherapy setting. This overlap limits the diagnostic utility of TIM3 as a specific marker of neoplasia.

Cao Y, Zhou X, Huang X, et al.
Tim-3 expression in cervical cancer promotes tumor metastasis.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(1):e53834 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: T cell immunoglobulin mucin-3 (Tim-3) has been identified as a negative regulator of anti-tumor immunity. Recent studies highlight the important role of Tim-3 in the CD8(+) T cell exhaustion that takes place in both human and animal cancer models. However, the nature of Tim-3 expression in the tumor cell and the mechanism by which it inhibits anti-tumor immunity are unclear. This present study aims to determine Tim-3 is expressed in cervical cancer cells and to evaluate the role of Tim-3 in cervical cancer progression.
METHODOLOGY: A total of 85 cervical tissue specimens including 43 human cervical cancer, 22 cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) and 20 chronic cervicitis were involved. Tim-3 expression in tumor cells was detected and was found to correlate with clinicopathological parameters. Meanwhile, expression of Tim-3 was assessed by RT-PCR, Western Blot and confocal microscopy in cervical cancer cell lines, HeLa and SiHa. The migration and invasion potential of Hela cells was evaluated after inhibiting Tim-3 expression by ADV-antisense Tim-3.
CONCLUSIONS: We found that Tim-3 was expressed at a higher level in the clinical cervical cancer cells compared to the CIN and chronic cervicitis controls. We supported this finding by confirming the presence of Tim-3 mRNA and protein in the cervical cell lines. Tim-3 expression in tumor cells correlated with clinicopathological parameters. Patients with high expression of Tim-3 had a significant metastatic potential, advanced cancer grades and shorter overall survival than those with lower expression. Multivariate analysis showed that Tim-3 expression was an independent factor for predicting the prognosis of cervical cancer. Significantly, down-regulating the expression of Tim-3 protein inhibited migration and invasion of Hela cells. Our study suggests that the expression of Tim-3 in tumor cells may be an independent prognostic factor for patients with cervical cancer. Moreover, Tim-3 expression may promote metastatic potential in cervical cancers.

Kobayashi Y, Banno K, Shimizu T, et al.
Gene expression profile of a newly established choriocarcinoma cell line, iC3-1, compared to existing choriocarcinoma cell lines and normal placenta.
Placenta. 2013; 34(2):110-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
Gestational choriocarcinoma is a malignant trophoblastic tumor that usually occurs in the uterus after pregnancy. The tumor is curable with advanced chemotherapy, but the molecular mechanism of choriocarcinoma tumorigenesis remains unclear. This is partly because the low incidence makes it difficult to obtain clinical samples for investigation and because an appropriate choriocarcinoma cell model to study the tumorigenesis has not been developed. We have established a new choriocarcinoma cell line, induced choriocarcinoma cell-1 (iC(3)-1), that possesses unique characteristics compared to other choriocarcinoma cell lines, including production of tumors that consist of the two types of cells commonly found in choriocarcinoma and mimicking of the clinical pathology. Existing trophoblast cell lines utilized in previous choriocarcinoma studies have had significantly dissimilar gene expression profiles. Therefore, it is important to choose an appropriate cell line for a particular study based on the characteristics of the cell line. In this study, to clarify the genetic characteristics of iC(3)-1 and to explore the tumorigenesis mechanism, we examined the gene profile of iC(3)-1 compared to those of existing cell lines and normal placental tissue. Bioinformatics analysis showed that several characteristic genes, IGF1R, CHFR, MUC3A, TAF7, PARK7, CDC123 and PSMD8, were significantly upregulated in iC(3)-1 compared to BeWo and JEG3 cells. Interestingly, HAS2, CD44 and S100P were significantly upregulated in iC(3)-1 compared to parental HTR8/SVneo cells and normal third trimester placenta. Choriocarcinoma samples also showed immunoreactivity to HAS2, CD44 and S100. In summary, the gene expression profile of iC(3)-1 suggests that studies using this cell line can make an important contribution to improved understanding of choriocarcinoma tumorigenesis.

Park HJ, Kusnadi A, Lee EJ, et al.
Tumor-infiltrating regulatory T cells delineated by upregulation of PD-1 and inhibitory receptors.
Cell Immunol. 2012 Jul-Aug; 278(1-2):76-83 [PubMed] Related Publications
Foxp3(+) regulatory T (T(reg)) cells are dominant suppressor cells which regulate conventional T (T(conv)) cells. Inside tumor microenvironment, T(reg) cells have been known to become potent in suppressing T(conv) cell responses, thereby enabling tumor cells to circumvent immune response. However, the underlying mechanism by which tumor-infiltrating T(reg) cells display enhanced suppressive function is still unresolved. To understand characteristics and function of tumor-infiltrating T(reg) cells as well as T(conv) cells in the tumor site, we analyzed their phenotypes either within tumor burden or at distant site of tumor using both heterotopic and orthotopic mouse cancer models. Compared to CD8(+) T cells at distant site of tumor, tumor-infiltrating CD8(+) T cells dramatically upregulated programmed death 1 (PD-1) and other inhibitory receptors, thereby being more exhausted functionally. Tumor-infiltrating CD4(+) T cells also expressed higher level of PD-1 than CD4(+) T cells at distant site of tumor but very surprisingly, upregulation of PD-1 occurred in CD4(+)Foxp3(+) T(reg) as well as CD4(+)Foxp3(-) T(conv) cells. Moreover, tumor infiltrating T(reg) cells upregulated other inhibitory receptors such as T cell immunoglobulin mucin 3 (TIM-3), cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4), glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor (GITR), and lymphocyte activation gene-3 (LAG-3). These results suggest that upregulation of PD-1 and other inhibitory receptors on tumor-infiltrating T(reg) cells is related with their enhanced suppressive function.

Kitamoto S, Yamada N, Yokoyama S, et al.
Promoter hypomethylation contributes to the expression of MUC3A in cancer cells.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010; 397(2):333-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
MUC3A is a membrane-bound glycoprotein that is aberrantly expressed in carcinomas and is a risk factor for a poor prognosis. However, the exact mechanism of MUC3A expression has yet to be clarified. Here, we provide the first evidence that MUC3A gene expression is controlled by the CpG methylation status of the proximal promoter region. We show that the DNA methylation pattern is intimately correlated with MUC3A expression in breast, lung, pancreas and colon cancer cell lines. The DNA methylation status of 30CpG sites from -660 to +273 was mapped using MassARRAY analysis. MUC3A-negative cancer cell lines and those with low MUC3A expression (e.g., MCF-7) were highly methylated in the proximal promoter region, corresponding to 9CpG sites (-345 to -75bp), whereas MUC3A-positive cell lines (e.g., LS174T) had low methylation levels. Moreover, 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and trichostatin A treatment of MUC3A-negative cells or those with low MUC3A expression caused elevation of MUC3A mRNA. Our results suggest that DNA hypomethylation in the 5'-flanking region of the MUC3A gene plays an important role in MUC3A expression in carcinomas of various organs. An understanding of epigenetic changes in MUC3A may contribute to the diagnosis of carcinogenic risk and to prediction of outcome in patients with cancer.

Ou G, Baranov V, Lundmark E, et al.
Contribution of intestinal epithelial cells to innate immunity of the human gut--studies on polarized monolayers of colon carcinoma cells.
Scand J Immunol. 2009; 69(2):150-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim was to establish an in vitro model for studies of innate defence mechanisms of human intestinal epithelium. Ultrastructural characterization and determination of mRNA expression levels for apical glycocalyx and mucous components showed that polarized, tight monolayers of the colon carcinoma cell lines T84 and Caco2 acquire the features of mature- and immature columnar epithelial cells, respectively. Polarized monolayers were challenged with non-pathogenic Gram+ and Gram- bacteria from the apical side and the proinflammatory cytokines interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) from the basolateral side. Immune responses were estimated as changes in mRNA expression levels for the mucous component mucin-2 (MUC2), the glycocalyx components carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA), CEA-related cell adhesion molecule-1 (CEACAM1), CEACAM6, CEACAM7 and MUC3, the antimicrobial factors human beta-defensin-1 (hBD1), hBD2, hBD3 and lysozyme, the chemokine IL-8 and the cytokines IL-6 and TNF-alpha. Tight monolayer cells were generally unresponsive to bacterial challenge, but increased their hBD2 levels when challenged with Bacillus megaterium. T84 cells also increased their TNF-alpha levels upon bacterial challenge. Tight monolayer cells responded to cytokine challenge suggesting awareness of basolateral attack. TNF-alpha induced significantly increased levels of IL-8 and TNF-alpha itself in both cell lines suggesting recruitment and activation of immune cells in the underlying mucosa in vivo. Cytokine challenge also increased levels of CEACAM1, which includes two functionally different forms, CEACAM1-L and CEACAM1-S. In T84 cells, IFN-gamma was selective for CEACAM1-L while TNF-alpha upregulated both forms. Increased CEACAM1 expression may influence epithelial function and communication between epithelial cells and intraepithelial lymphocytes.

Duncan TJ, Watson NF, Al-Attar AH, et al.
The role of MUC1 and MUC3 in the biology and prognosis of colorectal cancer.
World J Surg Oncol. 2007; 5:31 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MUC1 and MUC3 are from a large family of glycoproteins with an aberrant expression profile in various malignancies. Much interest has been focused on the role of these proteins in the development and progression of colorectal cancer; however, no previous studies have included the highly confounding variable of vascular invasion in their survival analysis. Using high throughput tissue microarray technology we assessed the prognostic value of MUC1 and MUC3 expression in the largest cohort of colorectal cancer patients to date. We propose that tumours lacking expression of MUC1 and MUC3 will be more likely to metastasise, due to previously observed loss of cell-cell adhesion, and this will therefore lead to more aggressive cancers with poorer prognosis.
METHODS: A tissue micro-array was prepared from tumour samples of 462 consecutive patients undergoing resection of a primary colorectal cancer. A comprehensive prospectively recorded data base with mean follow up of 75 months was collected and included common clinicopathological variables and disease specific survival. Immunohistochemical analysis of MUC1 and MUC3 expression was performed using antibodies NCL-MUC1 and 1143/B7 respectively, results were correlated with the variables within the database.
RESULTS: Positive expression of MUC1 and MUC3 was seen in 32% and 74% of tumours respectively. On univariate analysis no correlation was seen with either MUC1 or MUC3 and any of the clinicopathological variables including tumour grade and stage, vascular invasion and tumour type. Kaplan-Meier analysis demonstrated a significant reduction in disease specific survival with MUC1 positive tumours (p = 0.038), this was not seen with MUC3 (p = 0.552). On multivariate analysis, using Cox proportional hazards model, MUC1 expression was shown to be an independent marker of prognosis (HR 1.339, 95%CI 1.002-1.790, p = 0.048).
CONCLUSION: MUC1 expression in colorectal cancer is an independent marker of poor prognosis, even when vascular invasion is included in the analysis. These results support previous studies suggesting a role for MUC1 in colorectal cancer development possibly through its effects on cell adhesion.

Geng H, Zhang GM, Li D, et al.
Soluble form of T cell Ig mucin 3 is an inhibitory molecule in T cell-mediated immune response.
J Immunol. 2006; 176(3):1411-20 [PubMed] Related Publications
T cell Ig mucin 3 (Tim-3) has been found to play an important role in Th1-mediated auto- and alloimmune responses, but the function of soluble form of Tim-3 (sTim-3) remains to be elucidated. In this study, we report the inhibitory effect of sTim-3 on T cell-mediated immune response. In this study, sTim-3 mRNA was found, among different tissues and organs, only in splenic cells, and the activation of splenocytes resulted in up-regulated production of both sTim-3 mRNA and protein. We constructed a eukaryotic expression plasmid, psTim-3, which expresses functional murine sTim-3. In C57BL/6 mice inoculated with B16F1 melanoma cells, the growth of tumor was facilitated by the expression of this plasmid in vivo. Furthermore, sTim-3 inhibited the responses of T cells to Ag-specific stimulation or anti-CD3 mAb plus anti-CD28 mAb costimulation and the production of cytokines IL-2 and IFN-gamma in vitro. In tumor rejection model, sTim-3 significantly impaired T cell antitumor immunity, evidenced by decreased antitumor CTL activity and reduced amount of tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes in tumor. Real-time PCR analysis of gene expression in tumor microenvironment revealed the decreased expression of Th1 cytokine genes and the unchanged profile of the genes related to T regulatory cell function, suggesting that the inhibitory effect of sTim-3 on the generation of Ag-specific T cells in vivo is dominated by T effector cells rather than T regulatory cells. Our studies thus define sTim-3 as an immunoregulatory molecule that may be involved in the negative regulation of T cell-mediated immune response.

Byrd JC, Bresalier RS
Mucins and mucin binding proteins in colorectal cancer.
Cancer Metastasis Rev. 2004 Jan-Jun; 23(1-2):77-99 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mucins are high-molecular weight epithelial glycoproteins with a high content of clustered oligosaccharides O-glycosidically linked to tandem repeat peptides rich in threonine, serine, and proline. There are two structurally and functionally distinct classes of mucins: secreted gel-forming mucins (MUC2, MUC5AC, MUC5B, and MUC6) and transmembrane mucins (MUC1, MUC3A, MUC3B, MUC4, MUC12, MUC17), although the products of some MUC genes do not fit well into either class (MUC7, MUC8, MUC9, MUC13, MUC15, MUC16). MUC1 mucin, as detected immunologically, is increased in expression in colon cancers, which correlates with a worse prognosis. Expression of MUC2 secreted gel-forming mucin is generally decreased in colorectal adenocarcinoma, but preserved in mucinous carcinomas, a distinct subtype of colon cancer associated with microsatellite instability. Another secreted gel-forming mucin, MUC5AC, a product of normal gastric mucosa, is absent from normal colon, but frequently present in colorectal adenomas and colon cancers. The O-glycosidically linked oligosaccharides of mucins can be described in terms of core type, backbone type, and peripheral structures. Colon cancer mucins have differences in both core carbohydrates and in peripheral carbohydrate structures that are being investigated as diagnostic and prognostic markers, and also as targets for cancer vaccines. Colon cancer mucins typically have increases in three core structures: Tn antigen (GalNAcalphaThr/Ser), TF antigen (Galbeta3GalNAc) and sialyl Tn (NeuAcalpha6GalNAc). The type 3 core (GlcNAcbeta3Ga1NAc) predominant in normal colonic mucin is lacking in colon cancer mucins. There are cancer-associated alterations in the peripheral carbohydrates of colonic mucins including a decrease in O-acetyl-sialic acid and a decrease in sulfation. There are, however, cancer-associated increases in sialyl LeX and related structures on mucins and other glycoproteins that can serve as ligands for selectins, increasing the metastatic capacity of colon cancer cells. The endogenous galactoside-binding protein galectin-3, which is expressed at higher levels in colon cancers than normal colon, binds to colon cancer mucin as well as other glycoproteins. Interference of the binding of selectins and galectin-3 to mucin may show therapeutic or preventative promise for colon cancer.

Leroy X, Gouyer V, Ballereau C, et al.
Quantitative RT-PCR assay for MUC3 and VEGF mRNA in renal clear cell carcinoma: relationship with nuclear grade and prognosis.
Urology. 2003; 62(4):771-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To investigate, by real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, the expression of MUC3 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to correlate them with histologic parameters and with prognosis. Human mucins are large O-glycoproteins expressed in epithelial tissues. Deregulation of mucin genes has been demonstrated in several epithelial neoplasms. In the kidney, MUC3 is expressed in normal convoluted tubules and in renal clear cell carcinoma.
METHODS: Twenty-six renal clear cell carcinoma specimens were studied. For all tumors, samples of normal and tumor kidney were frozen. After RNA extraction, using ultracentrifugation through a cesium chloride cushion, VEGF and MUC3 mRNA were analyzed by real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. The pathologic parameters included Fuhrman nuclear grade and TNM stage. All follow-up data were available.
RESULTS: The median level of MUC3 and VEGF expression was greater in tumor areas compared with normal areas (P < 0.002 and P < 0.001, respectively). The MUC3 tumor/normal tissue expression ratio was greater in nuclear grade 3 tumor than in low grades (grade 1-2; P < 0.005). No statistically significant relationship was found with the prognosis for MUC3 and VEGF in our study.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study demonstrate that MUC3 and VEGF are overexpressed in renal clear cell carcinoma, and the MUC3 expression ratio is greater in nuclear grade 3 than in grades 1 and 2 (low grades) tumor. These findings suggest the implication of MUC3 in renal carcinogenesis.

Shekels LL, Ho SB
Characterization of the mouse Muc3 membrane bound intestinal mucin 5' coding and promoter regions: regulation by inflammatory cytokines.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003; 1627(2-3):90-100 [PubMed] Related Publications
The mouse Muc3 mucin is a membrane-bound glycoprotein highly expressed in the intestinal tract. We have characterized the mouse Muc3 5' structure and regulation of its promoter by cytokines and growth factors. The first two exons of Muc3 are separated by an intron of over 8 kb. Exon 3 contains the tandem repeat domain. Ten exons reside 3' to the tandem repeat domain. The 5' nonrepetitive sequence contains 104 amino acids characterized by a putative signal sequence, a single cysteine and 28% serine/threonine. No TATA box is found near the transcription start site. The promoter has consensus binding sites for AP1, CREB, SP1, NF kappa B, GATA binding protein and Cdx. Muc3 promoter constructs demonstrate that IL4, IL6, EGF or PMA increased promoter activity to 35-58% of control. TNF alpha and IFN gamma showed lesser stimulation. These data indicate that cytokines and growth factors are capable of regulating Muc3 gene expression, suggesting that this protein may play an active role in intestinal mucosal defense.

Park HU, Kim JW, Kim GE, et al.
Aberrant expression of MUC3 and MUC4 membrane-associated mucins and sialyl Le(x) antigen in pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia.
Pancreas. 2003; 26(3):e48-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas has recently been suggested to arise from histologically identifiable ductal lesions known as pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanINs). Altered levels and patterns of mucin gene expression have been reported to occur in epithelial cancers.
AIM: To examine the pattern of expression of membrane-associated mucins, MUC3 and MUC4, and a mucin-associated carbohydrate tumor antigen, sialyl Le(x), in these precursor lesions and ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas.
METHODOLOGY: A total of 144 PanIN lesions and 85 cases of ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas were examined by using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization methods.
RESULTS: MUC3 showed a progressive increase in expression in PanINs of increasing dysplasia and was also highly expressed in ductal adenocarcinoma. In contrast, neoexpression of MUC4 and sialyl Le(x) antigen was observed, mainly in PanIN-3 and ductal adenocarcinoma. In addition, a decrease in the expression of MUC3 and MUC4 was correlated with the degree of de-differentiation of the tumor.
CONCLUSION: Aberrant expression of membrane mucins MUC3 and MUC4 and of a mucin-associated carbohydrate tumor antigen Sialyl Le(x) in PanINs and adenocarcinoma further supports the progression model for pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Gum JR, Crawley SC, Hicks JW, et al.
MUC17, a novel membrane-tethered mucin.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002; 291(3):466-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Membrane mucins have several functions in epithelial cells including cytoprotection, extravasation during metastases, maintenance of luminal structure, and signal transduction. In this paper we describe a large membrane mucin expressed in the normal intestine. This novel mucin, designated MUC17, contains an extended, repetitive extracellular glycosylation domain and a carboxyl terminus with two EGF-like domains, a SEA module domain, a transmembrane domain, and a cytoplasmic domain with potential serine and tyrosine phosphorylation sites. RNA blot analysis and in situ hybridization indicates that MUC17 is expressed in select pancreatic and colon cancer cell lines and in intestinal absorptive cells. Radiation hybrid mapping localized MUC17 to chromosome 7q22 where it resides in close proximity with three other membrane mucin genes, MUC3A, MUC3B, and MUC12. Thus, these membrane mucins reside together in a gene cluster, but are expressed in different tissues and are likely to have different functions as well.

Wang R, Fang D, Liu W, Luo Y
[Aberrant expression of MUC2 and MUC3 genes in gastric carcinoma and its significance].
Chin Med J (Engl). 2000; 113(6):502-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: To explore the clinicopathological significance of the expression of MUC2 (mucin 2) and MUC3 (mucin 3) genes in tissues of the normal gastric mucosa, intestinal metaplasia (IM) and gastric carcinoma.
METHODS: MUC2 and MUC3 apomucins were detected by immunohistochemistry; MUC2 and MUC3 mRNAs were detected by in situ hybridization.
RESULTS: In the normal stomach, antibody detecting MUC2 apomucin and oligonucleotide probe detecting MUC2 mRNA were not reactive with mucus-producing cells in the superficial epithelium and neck, which were weakly reactive with antibody and probe detecting MUC3. In the duodenum, MUC2 apomucin and mRNA were found at the peri- and supranuclear area of goblet cells, but MUC3 apomucin and mRNA were at the cytoplasm of goblet cells and columnar cells. MUC2 and MUC3 apomucins and its mRNAs were found in 85.2%, 88.9% and 31.6%; 57.1% of specimens of IM, 67.4%, 66.7% and 57.9%, 43.6% of specimens of gastric carcinoma. There were no associations between expressions of MUC2 and MUC3 genes and different types of IM. Patients with moderate/well differentiation had higher proportion of MUC2 apomucin expression than those with poor differentiation (P < 0.05), and patients with positive staining of MUC3 apomucin in the cancerous tissues had higher proportions of metastasis of lymph nodes (P < 0.01), serosal invasion (P < 0.05) and clinical stages III-IV (P < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: MUC2 and MUC3 genes are mainly expressed in the mucosa of the duodenum, and marked expression is seen during the neoplastic transformation of stomach mucosa. MUC3 apomucin might have a poor prognostic significance.

Lee KT, Liu TS
Altered mucin gene expression in stone-containing intrahepatic bile ducts and cholangiocarcinomas.
Dig Dis Sci. 2001; 46(10):2166-72 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neoplastic transformation of epithelial cells is commonly associated with alterations in the synthesis and structures of mucin. Mucin protein epitopes and mRNA levels were frequently altered in adenocarcinomas compared to corresponding normal tissues. Clinically, hepatolithiasis has been regarded as a risk factor for cholangiocarcinoma. The aims of this study were to determine the possible alteration of mucin gene expression in stone-containing intrahepatic bile ducts and cholangiocarcinomas and to try to predict whether or not hepatolithiasis has a predisposition to development of cholangiocarcinoma. In situ hybridization with DIG-tailed oligonucleotides was performed on sections of paraffin-embedded tissues of stone-containing intrahepatic bile ducts, cholangiocarcinomas, and normal controls to identify the expression of MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC5B, and MUC5AC in nonneoplastic and neoplastic biliary epithelium. The findings showed that (1) while multiple diverse mucin genes were expressed in the biliary epithelium, MUC3 and MUC5B mRNA were the main mucin genes expressed in the biliary epithelium of stone-containing intrahepatic bile ducts and normal controls; (2) absent or decreased expression of MUC2, MUC3, and MUC5B of mRNA was found in cholangiocarcinomas in contrast to nonneoplastic biliary epithelium; and (3) increased expression of MUC4 and MU5AC of mRNA was found in cholangiocarcinomas and the biliary epithelium, especially for dysplastic cells of stone-containing intrahepatic bile ducts compared with normal controls. In this study, using in situ hybridization we demonstrated that neoplastic transformation of the biliary epithelium is accompained by alterations in mucin gene expression, the altered mucin gene expression in dysplastic cells of stone-containing intrahepatic bile ducts may reflect a higher potential for malignant transformation in these cells, and it could be a precursor of cholangiocarcinoma in the presence of hepatolithiasis.

Hong JC, Kim YS
Alkali-catalyzed beta-elimination of periodate-oxidized glycans: a novel method of chemical deglycosylation of mucin gene products in paraffin embedded sections.
Glycoconj J. 2000; 17(10):691-703 [PubMed] Related Publications
Altered expression of mucin gene products has been described in many epithelial cancers including colorectal cancer. However, mucins are heavily O-glycosylated making the study of apomucin expression difficult. In this study, we describe a novel method of chemical deglycosylation of mucin gene products on paraffin embedded formalin-fixed tissue sections. In the normal and cancerous colorectum, our results suggest that alkali-catalyzed beta-elimination of periodate oxidized glycan method of chemical deglycosylation modifies the structure of carbohydrates sensitive to mild periodate oxidation resulting in less steric hindrance and selectively removes Tn and sialyl-Tn structures, partially exposing the underlying apomucin epitopes. Using this method, we have demonstrated that the MUC1 tandem repeat epitope recognized by MAb 139H2 is masked predominantly due to steric hindrance by carbohydrate structures whereas the MUC2 tandem repeat epitope recognized by MAb CCP58 and pAb MRP and the MUC3 tandem repeat epitope recognized by pAb M3P are masked by the presence of carbohydrate side chains O-linked to Ser/Thr residues within the epitope. Considerable differences in the level and pattern of expression of the epitopes in the tandem repeat region of apomucins of MUC1, MUC2, and MUC3 were observed between normal and cancerous colorectal cancer tissues. We conclude that this novel chemical deglycosylation method that causes selective cleavage of distinct glycans will be useful in unmasking various mucin gene products and glycoproteins containing similar O-glycosidic linkages in the tissue sections of formalin-fixed paraffin embedded normal and pathological tissues.

Diaz LK, Wiley EL, Morrow M
Expression of epithelial mucins Muc1, Muc2, and Muc3 in ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast.
Breast J. 2001 Jan-Feb; 7(1):40-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epithelial mucins are glycoproteins secreted by epithelial cells and their carcinomas. At least nine mucin genes have been identified, and their products (MUC1-MUC9) are expressed in various epithelia. MUC1 is a mucin expressed in breast epithelial cells, whereas MUC2 and MUC3 are primarily intestinal mucins. Although MUC1 and MUC2 expression has been documented in invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast, mucin expression in pure ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) has not been investigated. Sixty-one of 105 cases of DCIS without coexisting infiltrating carcinoma diagnosed during a 30-month period were selected as having sufficient tissue for study. Paraffin-embedded tissue sections were stained using immunohistochemical techniques with mouse monoclonal anti-MUC1, anti-MUC2, and rabbit-specific polyclonal anti-MUC3 antibodies. Immunoreactive epitopes of MUC1, MUC2, and MUC3 were expressed in DCIS in 61, 19, and 16 of 61 cases, respectively. MUC2 and MUC3 staining intensity in DCIS was markedly less than that observed for MUC1. Luminal and/or cytoplasmic patterns of staining were observed for MUC1. MUC2 and MUC3 showed only cytoplasmic staining. Cytoplasmic-only staining of MUC1 was associated with a higher grade of DCIS. Any MUC2 staining was also associated with a higher grade of DCIS. Coexpression of MUC2 and MUC3 was present in only 6 of 61 cases, and MUC3 staining was unrelated to the grade of DCIS. Cytoplasmic expression of MUC1 and MUC2 appears to be associated with a higher grade of DCIS. MUC3 expression appears to be independent of grade and expression of MUC1 and MUC2. The relationship of mucin expression and grade warrants further study.

Han SY, Lee MS, Kim HR, et al.
Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate induces alteration in mucin gene expression and biological properties of colon cancer cells.
Int J Oncol. 2000; 17(3):487-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Phorbol esters such as phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) have been reported to modulate diverse cellular responses through signal transduction pathways including the protein kinase C (PKC) pathway. In the present study, we sought to determine the effect of PMA on mucin gene expression and on the biological properties of a human colon cancer cell line, HM3. The cells were treated for 8 and 24 h with various concentrations of PMA and total RNA was extracted and Northern and slot blot analyses were carried out using MUC2, MUC3 and MUC5AC mucin cDNA probes to assess the steady state levels of mRNA. Spent media were collected and the level of cancer associated carbohydrate antigens (T, Tn, sialyl Tn, sialyl Lex, and sialyl Lea) and matrix-degrading metalloproteinase (MMPs) activity were examined. Trypsinized cells were used for assessing in vitro invasion, motility and adhesion to matrigel. Our results showed that PMA caused upregulation of steady state mRNA levels of MUC2, MUC3 and MUC5AC which was inhibited after treatment with protein synthesis inhibitors. Calphostin C, a highly specific inhibitor of protein kinase C significantly inhibited the PMA induced induction of mRNA levels of MUC2, MUC3, and MUC5AC. The levels of all cancer-associated mucin carbohydrate antigens examined in the media were increased by PMA treatment. PMA also caused an increase in MMPs activity and in in vitro invasion and motility properties, but did not affect adhesion of HM3 cells to matrigel. Thus, PMA caused a significant increase in the expression of all three mucin genes through signaling pathways involving protein kinase C and increased secretion of mucin associated carbohydrate antigens. These changes were associated with increases in MMP activity as well as by increases in the invasive and motility properties of HM3 colon cancer cells. These data suggest that protein kinase C signaling pathways may be involved in mucin gene regulation and in modulating the invasive and metastatic properties of colon cancer cells.

Williams SJ, Munster DJ, Quin RJ, et al.
The MUC3 gene encodes a transmembrane mucin and is alternatively spliced.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999; 261(1):83-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epithelial mucins are a family of secreted and cell surface glycoproteins expressed by epithelial tissues and implicated in epithelial cell protection, adhesion modulation and signaling. The gene encoding human MUC3 (hMUC3), localised to chromosome 7q22, is most highly expressed in the small intestine. It has previously been reported to be a non-transmembrane mucin with minimal homology to its suggested orthologues from rat (rMuc3) and mouse (mMuc3). RT-PCR was performed to investigate the carboxyl terminus of the published sequence of hMUC3 from normal colon and small intestine tissues and also from a series of 10 colorectal cancer cell lines. Two distinct PCR products were identified. In contrast to the previously published hMUC3 sequence, which terminates shortly after a single cysteine-rich EGF-like domain, conceptual protein translation of the dominant and largest PCR product identified two extracellular cysteine-rich EGF-like domains separated by an N-glycosylation-rich domain and a potential coiled-coil region, followed by a putative transmembrane region and a 75 amino acid cytoplasmic tail. The smaller of the two PCR products was found to be an alternative splice variant of MUC3 including the first EGF-like domain but lacking part of the second EGF-like domain and the transmembrane region. Nine out of 10 colorectal cancer cell lines were found to express MUC3. Interestingly, one of the cell lines, LoVo, expressed predominantly the alternative splice form lacking a transmembrane domain. Structural homology of the new protein sequence of hMUC3 with rMuc3 and mMuc3 indicates it is closely related to the rodent proteins and is likely to be involved in ligand-binding and intracellular signaling. The new finding that MUC3 encodes a transmembrane molecule presents a new paradigm for the structure of this mucin and the manner in which it may function.

Taylor KL, Mall AS, Barnard RA, et al.
Immunohistochemical detection of gastric mucin in normal and disease states.
Oncol Res. 1998; 10(9):465-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
At least seven human mucin genes have been described, which express glycoproteins MUC1-7 in various tissues. It has been shown that different mucins are expressed in various gastric disease states compared to the normal. In this study we used histochemical and immunohistochemical methods to determine the type and pattern of mucin in 54 patients with a variety of gastric conditions [i.e., normal controls, fetal stomachs, gastritis, low-grade dysplasia, intestinal metaplasia (associated with gastritis, benign ulcers, dysplasia, and cancer), early and advanced intestinal type adenocarcinoma, and diffuse adenocarcinoma]. We report for the first time the use of all seven MUC antibodies in the various conditions. Normal controls were immunoreactive for MUC4, 5, and 6 , and gastritis specimens showed similar results, although the latter showed more MUC1 immunoreactivity. Whereas early fetal stomach showed no MUC immunoreactivity, MUC4, 5, and 6 were present from the early second trimester onwards. There was no significant difference between dysplasia and intestinal metaplasia, both categories showing the presence of MUC2 and 3 predominantly. Early intestinal type adenocarcinomas did not show any mucins in the majority of cases. Advanced intestinal type adenocarcinomas showed immunoreactivity predominantly for MUC1, 5, and 6, as well as MUC2 in some cases. Diffuse adenocarcinomas showed strong positive MUC2 and 6 staining, and in some cases MUC5 and 7. In conclusion, we have shown different patterns of mucin immunoreactivity in various gastric disease states. Specimens with dysplasia, intestinal metaplasia, late intestinal type adenocarcinoma, and diffuse gastric cancer were characterized by increased diversity of mucin types, whereas early intestinal cancer showed loss of mucin immunoreactivity.

Wacrenier A, Boman F, Farine MO, et al.
[Ovarian mucinous tumor of gastric and intestinal type associated with Peutz-Jeghers syndrome: in situ hybridization study of apomucin gene transcripts].
Ann Pathol. 1998; 18(6):497-501 [PubMed] Related Publications
Occurrence of mucinous tumors is favored by Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS). A case of bilateral ovarian mucinous tumor associated with ovarian mature teratoma occurring in a 22-year-old woman with PJS was reported. Tumor cells included 5 cell types: tall columnar mucinous pale cells with neutral mucins; goblet cells with acidic nonsulfated mucins; non mucinous columnar cells; mucinous cuboidal cells lining small glands; endocrine cells. Expression of the MUC2, MUC3, MUC5AC and MUC6 genes was demonstrated by in situ hybridization according to cell type. Some atypia and numerous mitotic figures were observed in basal glands. Diagnosis was ovarian borderline mucinous tumor with gastric and intestinal phenotype associated with PJS.

de Bolòs C, Gumà M, Barranco C, et al.
MUC6 expression in breast tissues and cultured cells: abnormal expression in tumors and regulation by steroid hormones.
Int J Cancer. 1998; 77(2):193-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Neoplastic transformation of epithelial cells is commonly associated with alterations in the expression of mucin genes. The mechanisms involved in this process are largely unknown. MUC6, isolated from a stomach cDNA library, is mainly expressed in stomach antral glands, as detected by using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. We examined MUC6 expression in normal and pathological breast tissues using immunohistochemistry with MUC6-specific antibodies and in cultured breast cancer cells using immunocytochemistry and Northern blotting. MUC6 was generally not detected in normal breast (1/11) but was detected in fibrocystic disease without atypia (7/17, 41%), in atypical fibrocystic disease (11/11, 100%) and in carcinoma (57/60, 95%). To study the mechanisms involved in mucin gene up-regulation in breast cancer, we examined baseline, growth-related and steroid-induced levels of MUC1, MUC3 and MUC6 in 4 breast cancer cell lines, 2 of which express estrogen receptors. MUC6 levels were up-regulated at post-confluence in 2/4 cell lines, whereas no changes were detected for the other mucin genes examined. MUC6 and MUC3 were constitutively expressed, and steroid-induced, in BT-474 and MCF-7 cells, respectively. As a control, pS2 was induced in both cell lines. Our results indicate that (1) MUC6 is overexpressed in breast cancer and in benign breast disease, (2) in vitro, MUC6 and MUC3 are up-regulated by steroids and (3) abnormal expression of MUC6 in breast cancers may, in part, be explained by hormonal changes associated with tumor development.

Sandrin MS, Vaughan HA, Xing PX, McKenzie IF
Natural human anti-Gal alpha(1,3)Gal antibodies react with human mucin peptides.
Glycoconj J. 1997; 14(1):97-105 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have recently demonstrated that both antibodies to Gal alpha(1,3)Gal, and the Gal alpha(1,3)Gal binding lectin (IB4), bind a synthetic peptide (DAHWESWL), there being a similar recognition of carbohydrate and peptide structures. We now report that the anti-Gal alpha(1,3)Gal antibodies and IB4 lectin also react with peptides encoded by mucin genes (MUC 1, 3, 4)-sequences known to be rich in serine, threonine and proline. This activity was demonstrated (1) by the ability of mucin derived peptides to block the reaction of anti-Gal alpha(1,3)Gal antibodies and IB4 lectin with a Gal alpha(1,3)Gal+ pig endothelial cell line; the reactions were specific and did not occur with a random peptide containing the same sequences or with other mucin peptides; (2) by the fact that anti-mucin1 antibodies could react with the Gal alpha(1,3)Gal expressed after transfection of COS cells (Gal alpha(1,3)Gal-,Muc1-) with cDNA encoding the pig alpha, 3galactosyltransferase; and (3) that the IB4 lectin and anti-Gal alpha(1,3)Gal antibodies could react with mucin 1 found on the surface of human breast cancer cells. Thus natural occurring anti-Gal alpha(1,3)Gal antibodies found in all human serum can react with self (Muc1) peptides expressed in large amounts on the surface of tumour cells but not on normal cells. The findings are of interest and serve to explain the previously reported findings that human cells can, at times, express Gal alpha(1,3)Gal; such expression is an artefact, the reaction is due to the phenomenon described herein, i.e. that anti-Gal alpha(1,3)Gal antibodies react with mucin peptides.

Weiss AA, Babyatsky MW, Ogata S, et al.
Expression of MUC2 and MUC3 mRNA in human normal, malignant, and inflammatory intestinal tissues.
J Histochem Cytochem. 1996; 44(10):1161-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
MUC2 and MUC3 are prominent mucin genes expressed in the human intestine. Using in situ hybridization with RNA probes, we examined the cellular distribution of MUC2 and MUC3 mRNA in normal, malignant, and inflammatory human intestinal tissues. In normal small intestine and colon, MUC2 mRNA was expressed exclusively in goblet cells and occurred throughout the entire height of the mucosa. MUC3 mRNA was expressed by goblet and columnar cells but was restricted to the villous compartment of the small intestine and the surface epithelium of the colon. Expression of MUC2 and MUC3 mRNA were both markedly decreased in poorly, moderately, and well-differentiated colon cancers but were preserved in mucinous colon cancers. In ulcerative colitis and Crohn's colitis tissues, MUC2 and MUC3 mRNA expression displayed a normal pattern regardless of whether the mucosa manifested active or quiescent inflammation. These findings indicate that MUC2 is goblet cell-specific, whereas MUC3 is related to maturation of intestinal epithelial cells. In colon cancers, the genetic regulation of MUC2 and MUC3 is different depending on the histological type of tumor. The constitutive expression of MUC2 and MUC3 mRNA in inflammatory bowel diseases suggests that these genes may be necessary for maintenance of normal epithelial cell function during inflammation.

Seregni E, Botti C, Lombardo C, et al.
Pattern of mucin gene expression in normal and neoplastic lung tissues.
Anticancer Res. 1996 Jul-Aug; 16(4B):2209-13 [PubMed] Related Publications
This work evaluates the expression in lung cancer of the most well characterized mucin genes (MUC1, MUC2, MUC3) and of the recently described MUC4 in lung tissues, to check a correlation between the expression of any particular gene and this tumor. Hybridization with synthetic oligonucleotides obtained from a part of the sequences of MUC1, MUC2, MUC3 and MUC4, was performed on blotted RNA from 18 lung cancer tissue specimens and from 10 normal tissues samples taken, when possible, from the normal lung counterpart. By means of Northern blot analysis MUC1 revealed to be the most expressed mucin gene in lung cancer, followed by MUC4; by contrast, the expression of MUC2 and MUC3 was almost undetectable in all cancer specimens. The intensity of expression of MUC1 and MUC4 was always superior in cancer tissue than in the normal counterpart. As expected, the highest reactivity for MUC1 and MUC4 expression was observed mainly in the adenocarcinoma histotype which is mucin secreting. These findings represent a contribution to the study of mucin gene pattern in lung cancer, and, in particular, indicate that MUC4, in association with the MUC1 gene, seems to be strongly expressed in this neoplastic disease.

Ho SB, Ewing SL, Montgomery CK, Kim YS
Altered mucin core peptide immunoreactivity in the colon polyp-carcinoma sequence.
Oncol Res. 1996; 8(2):53-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Altered mucin glycosylation occurs in colonic adenomas and can correlate with risk for malignant transformation. The purpose of this study was to determine if immunoreactivity of core tandem repeat peptides of specific mucin genes correlates with histopathologic criteria of malignant potential in the colon. Expression of MUC1, MUC2, and MUC3 core tandem repeat proteins was examined in specimens of normal mucosa (n = 20), hyperplastic polyps (n = 10), adenomatous polyps (n = 89), and invasive cancer (n = 19). An immunohistochemical scoring system that takes into account specimen heterogeneity and yields an integrated numerical score subject to statistical analysis was used. RNA message levels from tubular and tubulovillous adenomas (n = 13), normal colon (n = 12), and moderately differentiated adenocarcinomas (n = 8) were determined using RNA slot blot analysis with mucin-specific cDNA probes. MUC1 staining was rarely present in normal colon. MUC2 immunoreactivity was limited to goblet cells in most normal colonic crypts, and MUC3 staining was weakly expressed in the upper crypt regions only. In comparison with normal and hyperplastic specimens, MUC1 and MUC3 immunoreactivity scores were significantly increased in adenomas of increasing villous histology, size, and dysplasia. MUC2 scores were significantly increased in adenomas of greater villous histology and size. Comparable MUC1, MUC2, and MUC3 mRNA levels were present in adenomas and normal colon, whereas mucin mRNA levels were decreased in adenocarcinomas. We conclude that enhanced immunoreactivity of MUC1, MUC2 and MUC3 mucin tandem repeats occurs in adenomatous polyps and is associated with an increased risk for malignant transformation.

Velcich A, Palumbo L, Jarry A, et al.
Patterns of expression of lineage-specific markers during the in vitro-induced differentiation of HT29 colon carcinoma cells.
Cell Growth Differ. 1995; 6(6):749-57 [PubMed] Related Publications
The four different cell types present in the mature colon, absorptive enterocytes, mucus-secreting goblet cells, Paneth cells, and enteroendocrine cells, are believed to derive from a common precursor, the stem cell, anchored near the base of the crypt. Stem cell descendants undergo several rounds of cell division, creating a pool of transit cells that are committed to differentiation. The mechanisms by which committed cells are allocated to the different cell lineages of the intestine are poorly understood. We have used the colon carcinoma cell line HT29 and Cl.16E cells, a clonal derivative of HT29 cells, to investigate the regulation and pattern of expression of several markers (MUC2, MUC3, carcinoembryonic antigen, and alkaline phosphatase) that are associated with a more differentiated phenotype and that, in the mature cells, are lineage restricted. HT29 cells can express, upon exposure to the appropriate inducers, distinct intestinal specific markers; they are, therefore, considered multipotent, similar to the stem cells of the crypt. Conversely, Cl.16E cells are lineage restricted and respond to cell contact inhibition by expressing a fully differentiated goblet cell phenotype. We show that, in HT29 cells, different inducers (12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate, forskolin, and sodium butyrate) modulate specific sets of markers. Forskolin induces the expression of both MUC2 and MUC3, whereas 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate is capable of inducing only MUC2, and sodium butyrate, only MUC3 gene expression. Carcinoembryonic antigen, a marker common to enterocytes and goblet cells; can be induced by all the agents, whereas the alkaline phosphatase gene, the expression of which is characteristic of enterocytes, is responsive solely to sodium butyrate treatment.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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