The MUC3 gene encodes a large, glycosylated mucin produced by intestinal epithelial cells to form a protective barrier against the external environment. Recently published cDNA sequences for the carboxyl-terminal region of MUC3 polypeptide indicated that rodent Muc3 possesses two epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like domains, and putative transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains, whereas the sequence of human MUC3 predicted termination after the first EGF-like domain. Here we describe the complete genomic sequence encompassing the carboxyl terminal region of human MUC3, revealing the boundaries of 11 exons. RT-PCR and cDNA library cloning experiments indicate that the gene is alternatively spliced, yielding a major membrane-bound form as well as multiple soluble forms. Thus, this work indicates that both membrane-bound and soluble MUC3 mucin proteins are produced by alternative splicing of a single gene. A potentially important polymorphism involving a Tyr residue with a proposed role in signalling is described as well.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.