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Mucin biology group

Gunnar C. Hansson reserach group

Mucus and Mucins in the
Gastrointestinal tract - role in Cystic Fibrosis and Ulcerative Colitis

The group is studying the structure and function of mucins (mucus glycoproteins). This includes most aspects of mucins including also their glycan parts. A special focus is on the gastrointestinal tract and the role of mucins in the protection of the intestine and as part of the intestinal innate immune system. This also includes mucins in relation to cystic fibrosis and colon cancer development.

Mucins are extracellular large highly glycosylated molecules having mucin domains. The major mucin of the gastrointestinal tract is called MUC2 and is produced by the intestinal goblet cells. The group studies how this mucin is formed and secreted, a process that requires the CFTR channel, absent in Cystic Fibrosis. When secreted, the mucin forms enormous net-like covalent polymers that together with other components build the two mucus layers found in colon. The inner is normally impermeable to bacteria and thus protect the underlying epithelia. The outer layer is formed from the inner and is the habitat of all the commensal bacteria that reside in our gut. A defective inner mucus layer allows the bacteria to reach the epithelial cells and by this cause inflammation and colitis that can develop into colon cancer. Our hypothesis is that defects in this layer is a major reason for the disease Ulcerative Colitis.

An understanding of mucins and the alteration of their properties will be very important for an understanding of Ulcerative Colitis of the gastrointestinal tract, but also have implications for other diseases like Cystic Fibrosis and other diseases of the respiratory tract.


Further information:


Gunnar C. Hansson

Gunnar C. Hansson, M.D., Ph.D.
Chairman Swedish Mass Spectrometry Society (SMSS)
Department of Medical Biochemistry
University of Gothenburg
Medicinaregatan 9A
413 90 Gothenburg
(for delivery: Medicinaregatan 1G)
(for mail: Box 440, 405 30 Gothenburg)


Phone: +46 31 786 3488
Mobile phone: +46 709 490005
Fax: +46 31 416108

Skype: gunnarchansson

List of publications


Group members

Karin Ahlman, Technician
Joakim Bergström, Ph.D. student
Anna Björk, student
Malin Bäckström, Ph.D.
Anna Ermund, Ph.D.
Jenny Gustafsson, Ph.D. student
Malin Johansson, Ph.D.
Sjoerd van der Post, Ph.D. student
Ana Rodriguez Piñeiro, Ph.D.
André Schütte, Ph.D.
Karolina Sjöberg, MD.
Henrik Sjövall, MD., Ph.D.
Frida Svensson, technician
Elisabeth Thomsson, Ph.D.
Catharina Wising, Ph.D.

Sidansvarig: Dan Baeckström|Sidan uppdaterades: 2011-03-09

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