Intestinal mucins from cystic fibrosis mice show increased fucosylation due to an induced Fucα1-2 glycosyltransferase

Kristina A. Thomsson, Marina Hinojosa-Kurtzberg, Karin A. Axelsson, Steven E. Domino, John B. Lowe, Sandra J. Gendler, Gunnar C. Hansson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


In gene-targeted mouse models for cystic fibrosis (CF), the disease is mainly manifested by mucus obstruction in the intestine. To explore the mucus composition, mucins insoluble and soluble in 6 M guanidinium chloride were purified by three rounds of isopycnic ultracentrifugation from the small and large intestines of CF mice (Cftrm1UNC/Cftrm1UNC) and compared with wild-type mice. The amino acid composition was typical of that for mucins and showed increased amounts of the insoluble (2.5-fold increase) and soluble (7-fold increase) mucins in the small intestine of the CF mice compared with wild-type mice. Mucins from the large intestine of both wild-type and CF mice showed a high but constant level of fucosylation. In contrast, the insoluble and soluble mucins of the small intestine in CF mice revealed a large increase in fucose, whereas those of wild-type mice contained only small amounts of fucose. This increased fucosylation was analysed by releasing the O-linked oligosaccharides followed by GC-MS. NMR spectroscopy revealed that the increased fucosylation was due to an increased expression of blood group H epitopes (Fucα1-2Gal-). Northern-blot analysis, using a probe for the murine Fucα1-2 fucosyltransferase (Fut2), showed an up-regulation of this mRNA in the small intestine of the CF mice, suggesting that this enzyme is responsible for the observed increase in blood group H-type glycosylation. The reason for this up-regulation could be a direct or indirect effect of a non-functional CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) caused by the absence of CFTR channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)609-616
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


  • MS
  • O-glycosylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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