Biosynthesis of mucins in bovine trachea: identification of the major radiolabelled species

Naila Svitacheva, Hans W. Hovenberg, Julia R. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bovine trachea in organ culture secretes mucus containing a 'high-density' (1.46 g/ml) and a 'low-density' (1.37 g/ml) mucin similar to those identified previously in bovine respiratory secretions [Hovenberg, Carlstedt and Davies (1997) Biochem. J. 321, 117-123]. After pulse-labelling, autoradiography showed uptake of [35S]sulphate by both epithelial goblet cells and submucosal glands, while [3H]proline was mainly incorporated into the ciliated surface epithelial cells. After 24 h of radiolabelling, neither the high- nor the low-density mucin in the secreted mucus gel was heavily radiolabelled with the precursors. In contrast, a population of molecules banding at 1.50 g/ml was heavily radiolabelled with [35S]sulphate. This component was smaller than the high-density mucin from the mucus gel and was insensitive to reduction or digestion with chondroitin ABC lyase or heparan sulphate lyase. The molecules yielded two populations of high-Mr glycopeptides upon trypsin digestion, were sensitive to keratanase and endo-beta-galactosidase digestion and contained O-linked glycans. Extracts of the surface epithelium and submucosal tissue after radiolabelling showed that the high- and low-density mucins in the tissue were also poorly radiolabelled. Thus, under these conditions, the radiolabelled precursors were not effectively incorporated into the large oligomeric mucins but into a high-Mr monomeric species. This study suggests that data obtained in investigations where mucins are radiolabelled and studied without further separation into distinct components may rather reflect the turnover of this 'novel' monomeric species than the large oligomeric mucins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-456
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Jul 15

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy

Free keywords

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Cattle
  • Centrifugation, Isopycnic
  • Culture Techniques
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Molecular Weight
  • Mucins/biosynthesis
  • Sulfates/metabolism
  • Trachea/metabolism


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