|CFTR expression does not influence glycosylation of an epitope-tagged MUC1 mucin in colon carcinoma cell lines.|
The cause of the mucus clearance problems associated with cystic fibrosis remains poorly understood though it has been suggested that mucin hypersecretion, dehydration of mucins, and biochemical abnormalities in the glycosylation of mucins may be responsible. Since the biochemical and biophysical properties of a mucin are dependent on O-glycosylation, our aim was to evaluate the O-glycosylation of a single mucin gene product in matched pairs of cells that differed with respect to CFTR expression. An epitope-tagged MUC1 mucin cDNA (MUC1F) was used to detect variation in mucin glycosylation in stably transfected colon carcinoma cell lines HT29 and Caco2. The glycosylation of MUC1F mucin was evaluated in matched pairs of Caco2 cell lines that either express wild-type CFTR or have spontaneously lost CFTR expression. The general glycosylation pattern of MUC1F was evaluated by determining its reactivity with a series of monoclonal antibodies against known blood group and tumor-associated carbohydrate antigens. Metabolic labeling experiments were used to estimate the gross levels of glycosylation and sulfation of MUC1F mucin in these matched pairs of cell lines. Expression of CFTR in this experimental system did not affect the gross levels of glycosylation or sulfation of the MUC1F mucin nor the types of carbohydrates structures attached to the MUC1F protein.