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Core 1- and 3-derived O-glycans collectively maintain the colonic mucus barrier and protect against spontaneous colitis in mice.

Journal article
Authors K Bergstrom
J Fu
Malin E V Johansson
X Liu
N Gao
Q Wu
J Song
J M McDaniel
S McGee
W Chen
J Braun
Gunnar C. Hansson
L Xia
Published in Mucosal immunology
Volume 10
Pages 91–103
ISSN 1935-3456
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Biomedicine, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Pages 91–103
Language en
Subject categories Chemistry


Core 1- and 3-derived mucin-type O-glycans are primary components of the mucus layer in the colon. Reduced mucus thickness and impaired O-glycosylation are observed in human ulcerative colitis. However, how both types of O-glycans maintain mucus barrier function in the colon is unclear. We found that C1galt1 expression, which synthesizes core 1 O-glycans, was detected throughout the colon, whereas C3GnT, which controls core 3 O-glycan formation, was most highly expressed in the proximal colon. Consistent with this, mice lacking intestinal core 1-derived O-glycans (IEC C1galt1(-/-)) developed spontaneous colitis primarily in the distal colon, whereas mice lacking both intestinal core 1- and 3-derived O-glycans (DKO) developed spontaneous colitis in both the distal and proximal colon. DKO mice showed an early onset and more severe colitis than IEC C1galt1(-/-) mice. Antibiotic treatment restored the mucus layer and attenuated colitis in DKO mice. Mucins from DKO mice were more susceptible to proteolysis than wild-type mucins. This study indicates that core 1- and 3-derived O-glycans collectively contribute to the mucus barrier by protecting it from bacterial protease degradation and suggests new therapeutic targets to promote mucus barrier function in colitis patients.Mucosal Immunology advance online publication, 4 May 2016; doi:10.1038/mi.2016.45.

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