Spatial and temporal expression of an epithelial mucin, Muc-1, during mouse development

V. M.M. Braga, L. F. Pemberton, T. Duhig, S. J. Gendler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


The Muc-1 mucin is found as a transmembrane protein in the apical surface of glandular epithelia. To provide insight into possible functions, we have assessed the timing of expression and the distribution of the Muc-1 protein during mouse embryogenesis using three different techniques: RT-PCR, northern blots and immunohistochemistry. Our results indicate that Muc-1 expression correlates with epithelial differentiation in stomach, pancreas, lung, trachea, kidney and salivary glands. Once started, Muc-1 synthesis continually increases with time, mainly due to epithelial area growth. Our data suggest that expression of the Muc-1 gene is under spatial and temporal control during organogenesis. Although Muc-1 is present in different organs, its expression is not induced systemically, but according to the particular onset of epithelial polarization and branching morphogenesis of each individual organ. It is of particular interest that Muc-1 protein can be detected lining the apical surfaces of the developing lumens when the epithelium of these organs is still undergoing folding and branching, and glandular activity has not yet started. We speculate that Muc-1 may participate in epithelial sheet differentiation/lumen formation during early development of the organs known to express it. This speculation is based on: (1) the detection of Muc-1 expression early during organogenesis, (2) the defined apical localization in different epithelia, (3) the decrease in cell-cell interactions when Muc-1 protein is highly expressed and (4) the possible interaction of its cytoplasmic tail with the actin cytoskeleton. However, it remains to be established using in vitro systems, whether the temporal and local expression of the Muc-1 gene coincident with the morphogenetic events described here is relevant for the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-437
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1992


  • Epithelial polarization
  • Kidney
  • Lung
  • Morphogenesis
  • Mouse development
  • Muc-1
  • Mucin
  • Organogenesis
  • PEM
  • Pancreas
  • Salivary glands
  • Stomach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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