The gastrointestinal tract is lined by a layer of mucus comprised of highly glycosylated proteins called mucins. To evaluate the importance of mucin in intestinal carcinogenesis, we constructed mice genetically deficient in Muc2, the most abundant secreted gastrointestinal mucin. Muc2-/- mice displayed aberrant intestinal crypt morphology and altered cell maturation and migration. Most notably, the mice frequently developed adenomas in the small intestine that progressed to invasive adenocarcinoma, as well as rectal tumors. Thus, Muc2 is involved in the suppression of colorectal31 cancer.
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