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Gastrointestinal mucins of Fut2-null mice lack terminal fucosylation without affecting colonization by Candida albicans.

Journal article
Authors Elizabeth A Hurd
Jessica Holmén
Gunnar C. Hansson
Steven E Domino
Published in Glycobiology
Volume 15
Issue 10
Pages 1002-7
ISSN 0959-6658
Publication year 2005
Published at Institute of Medical Biochemistry
Pages 1002-7
Language en
Keywords Animals, Candida albicans, pathogenicity, Fucosyltransferases, genetics, Genes, Reporter, Intestinal Mucosa, metabolism, Intestines, metabolism, microbiology, Lac Operon, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Knockout, Mucins, metabolism, Polysaccharides, metabolism
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


Posttranslational modification of apomucins by the sequential action of glycosyltransferases is required to produce mature mucins. The Secretor gene (FUT2) encodes an alpha(1,2)fucosyltransferase (EC that catalyzes addition of terminal alpha(1,2)fucose residues on mucins and other molecules in mucosal epithelium. Mutant mice containing targeted replacement of Fut2 with the bacterial reporter gene lacZ were studied to determine the affect of the loss of Fut2 on glycosylation of mucins in the gastrointestinal tract. By whole organ X-gal staining, lacZ activity is prominently expressed in the foveolar pit and chief cells of the glandular stomach, Brunner's glands of the duodenum, and goblet cells in the large intestine of Fut2-LacZ-null mice. Staining with Aleuria aurantia agglutinin demonstrates loss of L-fucosylated epithelial glycans throughout the gastrointestinal tract of Fut2-LacZ-null mice, however, histologic appearance of the tissues appears normal. Analysis of oligosaccharides released from insoluble colonic mucins, largely Muc2, by mass spectrometry shows complete lack of terminal fucosylation of O-linked oligosaccharides in Fut2-LacZ-null mice. Precursor glycans accumulate with no evidence of compensation by other fucosyltransferases or sialyltransferases on mucin glycosylation. Because Candida albicans has been reported to adhere to intestinal mucins creating a potential reservoir associated with vaginitis, Fut2-LacZ-null and wild-type mice were inoculated by gastric lavage with C. albicans. We observe no difference in colonization between genotypes suggesting mucin terminal fucosylation does not significantly influence C. albicans-host interaction in the intestine, highlighting that infections caused by the same organism at different mucosal surfaces are not equal.

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