Muc17 protects intestinal epithelial cells from enteroinvasive E. coli infection by promoting epithelial barrier integrity.


The membrane-bound mucin MUC17 (mouse homolog Muc3) is highly expressed on the apical surface of intestinal epithelia and is thought to play a role in epithelial restitution and protection. Therefore, we hypothesized that MUC17 has a role in protection of the intestinal mucosa against luminal pathogens. Human intestinal cell lines were transfected by electroporation (Caco-2 and HT 29/19A) and by retroviral expression vector (LS174T, a cell line with high levels of MUC17 expression) using MUC17 siRNA. Transepithelial electrical resistance, permeability, tight-junction protein expression, adhesion, and invasion in response to enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC) were measured in all cell lines. In some experiments, the effect of the addition of exogenous purified crude mucin or recombinant Muc3 cysteine-rich domain protein (Muc3 CRD1-L-CRD2) as preventative or protective treatment was tested. Reduction of endogenous MUC17 is associated with increased permeability, inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase 2 induction, and enhanced bacterial invasion in response to EIEC exposure. Bacterial adhesion is not affected. Exogenous mucin (Muc3) and recombinant Muc3CRD treatment had a small but significant effect in attenuating the effects of EIEC infection. In conclusion, these data suggest that both native and exogenous MUC17 play a role in attachment and invasion of EIEC in colonic cell lines and in maintaining epithelial barrier function.

  • Batra SK
  • Das S
  • Ho SB
  • Resta-Lenert S
PubMed ID
Appears In
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol, 2011, 300 (6)