The MUC family: an obituary

Trends Biochem Sci. 2002 Mar;27(3):126-31. doi: 10.1016/s0968-0004(01)02052-7.


Mucins are glycoproteins that are common on the surfaces of many epithelial cells; they are deemed to mediate many interactions between these cells and their milieu. Several of these mucins form the mucus layer that is found in many hollow organs. The biophysical properties of mucins are related to their extensive O-linked glycosylation rather than directly to their polypeptide sequences. Despite the frequent absence of sequence homology, many human genes encoding mucins have been named MUC followed by a number, unjustly suggesting the existence of one large gene family. In this article, it is suggested that the mucin genes be renamed according to their sequence homologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Glycosylation
  • Humans
  • Mucins / classification
  • Mucins / genetics*
  • Mucins / metabolism
  • Multigene Family


  • Mucins