Cellular and Molecular Biology of Airway Mucins

Erik P. Lillehoj, Kosuke Kato, Wenju Lu, Kwang C. Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Airway mucus constitutes a thin layer of airway surface liquid with component macromolecules that covers the luminal surface of the respiratory tract. The major function of mucus is to protect the lungs through mucociliary clearance of inhaled foreign particles and noxious chemicals. Mucus is comprised of water, ions, mucin glycoproteins, and a variety of other macromolecules, some of which possess anti-microbial, anti-protease, and anti-oxidant activities. Mucins comprise the major protein component of mucus and exist as secreted. and cell-associated glycoproteins. Secreted, gel-forming mucins are mainly responsible for the viscoelastic property of mucus, which is crucial for effective mucociliary clearance. Cell-associated mucins shield the epithelial surface from pathogens through their extracellular domains and regulate intracellular signaling through their cytoplasmic regions. However, neither the exact structures of mucin glycoproteins, nor the manner through which their expression is regulated, are completely understood. This chapter reviews what is currently known about the cellular and molecular properties of airway mucins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Review of Cell and Molecular Biology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Pages139-202
Number of pages64
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Cell and Molecular Biology
Volume303
ISSN (Print)1937-6448

Keywords

  • Inflammation
  • Lung
  • MUC1
  • Mucus
  • Pathogenic bacteria
  • Toll-like receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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