Structure and function of the cell surface (tethered) mucins

Annu Rev Physiol. 2008;70:431-57. doi: 10.1146/annurev.physiol.70.113006.100659.


Cell surface mucins are large transmembrane glycoproteins involved in diverse functions ranging from shielding the airway epithelium against pathogenic infection to regulating cellular signaling and transcription. Although hampered by the relatively recent characterization of cell surface mucins and the difficulties inherent in working with molecules of their size, numerous studies have placed the tethered mucins in the thick of normal and diseased lung physiology. This review focuses on the three best-characterized cell surface mucins expressed in the respiratory tract: MUC1, MUC4, and MUC16.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mucins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mucins