Mucins and toll-like receptors: kith and kin in infection and cancer.
Inflammation is underlying biological phenomenon common in infection and cancer. Mucins are glycoproteins which establish a physical barrier for undesirable entry of foreign materials through epithelial surfaces. A deregulated expression and an anomalous glycosylation pattern of mucins are known in large number of cancers. TLRs are class of receptors which recognize the molecular patterns of invading pathogens and activate complex inflammatory pathways to clear them. Aberrant expression of TLRs is observed in many cancers. A highly orchestrated action of mucins and TLRs is well evolved host defence mechanism; however, a link between the two in other non-infectious conditions has received less attention. Here we present an overview as to how mucins and TLRs give protection to the host and are deregulated during carcinogenesis. Further, we propose the possible mechanisms of cross-regulation between them in pathogenesis of cancer. As both mucins and TLRs are therapeutically important class of molecules, an understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms connecting the two will open new avenues for the therapeutic targeting of cancer.
- Batra SK
- Kumar S
- Tarang S