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Mucins in Infection and Cancer

H. pylori (green) interacting with the membrane bound mucin MUC1 (red). Nuclei are stained blue.

Sara Lindén research group

Contact Information | List of Publications

The mucosal tissues of the gastrointestinal, respiratory, reproductive and urinary tracts and the surface of the eye present an enormous surface area to the exterior environment. Mucosal tissues represent the site of infection or a route of access for the majority of bacteria that cause human diseases. To protect the epithelial cells, the mucosal surfaces are covered by a layer of secreted mucins that have a decoy/cleaning function, and underneath the mucus layer the cell-surface mucins are a dominant feature of the apical surface of mucosal epithelial cells. The cell surface mucins provide a barrier and signalling function and are involved in tumour metastasis as well as regulation of cell proliferation. In infection, precancerous lesions and cancer, the expression and spatial distribution of mucins change. Each mucin carries around 100 different oligosaccharide structures, and some of these change rapidly in response to infection in a way that alters the bacterial adhesion targets. Thus, the mucin barrier is dynamic and responsive and is likely to play a major role during infection and malignant transformation.

We investigate the role of mucins during host defense against bacteria, as well as the biological function of changes in mucosal mucin expression and glycosylation associated with disease. Currently it is not known whether these changes are beneficial for the host or the pathogen, or if they take part in malignant processes or merely accompany them, and furthering the knowledge in this area may lead to novel ways of treating disease.


Group members

Sara Lindén, Professor
Vignesh Ventakatakrishnan, Post doc
Macarena Quintana-Hyashi, Post doc
Janos Padra, Post doc
Medea Padra, Phd Student
Sinan Sharba, Phd Student
Gurdeep Shahal, Phd Student
Abarna Vidya, Masters student
Mattias Erhardsson, Amanuens
Helen Stenbäck, Amanuens

Sidansvarig: Dan Baeckström|Sidan uppdaterades: 2017-05-04

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