Intestinal goblet cells sample and deliver lumenal antigens by regulated endocytic uptake and transcytosis

Jenny K. Gustafsson, Jazmyne E. Davis, Tracy Rappai, Keely G. McDonald, Devesha H. Kulkarni, Kathryn A. Knoop, Simon P. Hogan, James A.J. Fitzpatrick, Wayne I. Lencer, Rodney D. Newberry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intestinal goblet cells maintain the protective epithelial barrier through mucus secretion and yet sample lumenal substances for immune processing through formation of goblet cell associated antigen passages (GAPs). The cellular biology of GAPs and how these divergent processes are balanced and regulated by goblet cells remains unknown. Using high resolution light and electron microscopy, we found that in mice, GAPs were formed by an acetylcholine (ACh) dependent endocytic event remarkable for delivery of fluid phase cargo retrograde into the trans golgi network and across the cell by transcytosis - in addition to the expected transport of fluid phase cargo by endosomes to multi-vesicular bodies and lysosomes. While ACh also induced goblet cells to secrete mucins, ACh-induced GAP formation and mucin secretion were functionally independent and mediated by different receptors and signaling pathways, enabling goblet cells to differentially regulate these processes to accommodate the dynamically changing demands of the mucosal environment for barrier maintenance and sampling of lumenal substances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere67292
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Antigen uptake
  • Goblet Cell
  • Mucus secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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