The heavily O-glycosylated mucin MUC2 constitutes the major protein in the mucosal layer that acts as a physical barrier protecting the epithelial layer in the colon. In this study, Muc2 was purified from mucosal scrapings from the colon of wild-type (WT) mice, core 3 transferase knockout (C3Gnt–/–) mice and intestinal epithelial cell-specific core 1 knockout (IEC C1Galt1–/–) mice. The Muc2 O-glycans were released by reductive β-elimination and analyzed with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry in the negative-ion mode. Muc2 from the distal colon of WT and C3Gnt–/– knockout mice carried a mixture of core 1- or core 2-type glycans, whereas Muc2 from IEC C1Galt1–/– mice carried highly sialylated core 3- and core 4-type glycans. A large portion of NeuAc in all mouse models was positioned on disialylated N-acetyllactosamine units, an epitope not reported on human colonic MUC2. Mass spectra and proton NMR spectroscopy revealed an abundant NeuAc linked to internally positioned N-acetylglucosamine on colonic murine Muc2, which also differs markedly from human MUC2. Our results highlight that murine colonic Muc2 O-glycosylation is substantially different from human MUC2, which could be one explanation for the different commensal microbiota of these two species.
Kristina A Thomsson; Jessica M Holmén-Larsson; Jonas Ångström; Malin EV Johansson; Lijun Xia; Gunnar C Hansson
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