The MUC3 gene encodes a transmembrane mucin-type glycoprotein. A number of consistent single nucleotide changes were observed in different MUC3 cDNAs from a single individual, suggesting the presence of at least three different transcripts per individual. This transcript heterogeneity is due both to the existence of a second copy of the MUC3 gene and to allelic changes. Sequencing of the second MUC3 shows that it has the same C-terminal domain and intron/exon structure as the previously described MUC3. The tandem repeat domain has the same amino acid consensus sequence but shows more substitutions. The unique exonic sequences range from 94 to 100% identity at the nucleotide level and correspondingly few amino acid changes have been identified. The introns show around 95% identity. We propose to name this second gene MUC3B, MUC3A being reserved for the first MUC3 gene. MUC3B, like MUC3A, is expressed in intestine and Caco-2 cells.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.