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Gene Review

MUC3A  -  mucin 3A, cell surface associated

Homo sapiens

Synonyms: MUC-3A, MUC3
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Disease relevance of MUC3A

  • Associations of distinct variants of the intestinal mucin gene MUC3A with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease [1].
  • Goblet cells expressing the MUC2 gene and columnar cells expressing the MUC3 gene were consistent with an intestinal phenotype, which was observed in 15 tumours (71%) including nine adenomas and six borderline tumours [2].
  • Intestinal metaplasia is characterized by an intestinal-type pattern with MUC2 and MUC3 mRNA expression [3].
  • MUC2 and MUC3 staining intensity in DCIS was markedly less than that observed for MUC1 [4].
  • Among the various mucins expressed in breast cancer, MUC1 and MUC3 are potential prognostic indicators, MUC1 having the strongest relationship with patient outcome [5].

Psychiatry related information on MUC3A


High impact information on MUC3A


Chemical compound and disease context of MUC3A


Biological context of MUC3A

  • RESULTS: Expression of MUC3 was detected in the small intestine and colon from 13 weeks gestation onwards and at low levels in the main pancreatic duct at 13 weeks only [6].
  • The gene encoding human MUC3 (hMUC3), localised to chromosome 7q22, is most highly expressed in the small intestine [10].
  • In contrast, MUC2 and MUC3 gene expression was primarily restricted to the intestinal tract [11].
  • Although there was no correlation of mucin expression with tumor histology, there was a significant decrease in expression of MUC3 and MUC4 with increasing cancer stage (P < 0.05) [12].
  • The region of MUC3 located upstream of the previously described 51-base pair (bp) tandem repeats, which encode a major Ser and Thr-rich domain, consists of a second type of repetitive structure with an imperfect periodicity of approximately 1125 bp [13].

Anatomical context of MUC3A

  • MUC3B, like MUC3A, is expressed in intestine and Caco-2 cells [14].
  • Surprisingly, MUC3, which was the gene which was most expressed in the biliary tree, was also found in hepatocytes, suggesting another function for the MUC3 protein than that of a secreted mucin [15].
  • Interestingly, normal gastric cardia mucosa also showed a significantly higher prevalence of MUC2 and MUC3 expression in glandular epithelium (29% and 38%, respectively) compared with the antrum (0% for both markers) (P < 0.05) [16].
  • Surprisingly, MUC3 which is strongly expressed in adult pancreas, was not detected in developmental pancreas [17].
  • RESULTS: The findings showed mRNA expression of MUC3, MUC5B and MUC6 in most gallbladders in all three groups, but stronger and extensive expression of these mRNAs in gallbladders with stones [18].

Associations of MUC3A with chemical compounds

  • These results were consistent with immunoblots using anti-MRP (MUC2 repeat peptide), anti-M3P (MUC3 repeat peptide), 139H2 (MUC1 peptide), anti-T (peanut lectin), anti-Tn (91S8), and anti-sialosyl Tn (JT10e) antibodies [19].
  • MUC3 is a large mucin glycoprotein expressed by the human intestine and gall bladder [13].
  • The MUC3 carboxyl-terminal domain is 617 residues in length, including 511 residues of a non-repetitive mucin-like domain (27% Thr, 22% Ser, and 11% Pro) and a 106-residue Cys-rich domain with homology to the epidermal growth factor (EGF) -like structural motifs found in many proteins [13].
  • MUC6 and MUC3 were constitutively expressed, and steroid-induced, in BT-474 and MCF-7 cells, respectively [20].
  • The MUC3 precursor was completely degraded by trypsin, but the MUC2 precursor had a trypsin-resistant fragment of M(r) approx. 240,000 containing threonine and cysteine [21].

Other interactions of MUC3A

  • MUC3 and MUC6 were constantly and focally expressed, respectively, in the biliary epithelial cells in the intrahepatic large bile ducts in normal livers, extrahepatic biliary obstruction, and, also, hepatolithiasis [22].
  • These data suggest that the biliary epithelial cells switch MUC1 apomucin expression before birth to that of MUC3 after birth [23].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of MUC3A

  • RNase protection analysis and 5'-GeneRacer PCR indicated that MUC3A gene transcripts initiate from multiple start sites along a region spanning approximately 180 bases [24].
  • Addition of bile during either storage in UW solution or rewarming period induced increased steady-state MUC2, MUC3 and MUC5AC mRNA levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)[25]
  • RT-PCR was performed to investigate the carboxyl terminus of the published sequence of hMUC3 from normal colon and small intestine tissues and also from a series of 10 colorectal cancer cell lines [10].
  • Both MUC2 and MUC3 proteins, identified by labelling with [3H]threonine or [35S]cysteine and immunoprecipitation with antibodies to synthetic mucin peptides, were already of large size (M(r) > 180,000) by the earliest labelling time (5 min) [21].
  • Northern blot analysis showed that MUC2 mRNA levels were significantly higher in C1a cells compared with HM3 cells, while those of MUC3, -5 and -6 mRNA were lower [26].


  1. Associations of distinct variants of the intestinal mucin gene MUC3A with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. Kyo, K., Muto, T., Nagawa, H., Lathrop, G.M., Nakamura, Y. J. Hum. Genet. (2001) [Pubmed]
  2. Mucin gene transcripts in benign and borderline mucinous tumours of the ovary: an in situ hybridization study. Boman, F., Buisine, M.P., Wacrenier, A., Querleu, D., Aubert, J.P., Porchet, N. J. Pathol. (2001) [Pubmed]
  3. Developmental mucin gene expression in the gastroduodenal tract and accessory digestive glands. I. Stomach. A relationship to gastric carcinoma. Buisine, M.P., Devisme, L., Maunoury, V., Deschodt, E., Gosselin, B., Copin, M.C., Aubert, J.P., Porchet, N. J. Histochem. Cytochem. (2000) [Pubmed]
  4. Expression of epithelial mucins Muc1, Muc2, and Muc3 in ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast. Diaz, L.K., Wiley, E.L., Morrow, M. The breast journal. (2001) [Pubmed]
  5. Expression of mucins (MUC1, MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC5AC and MUC6) and their prognostic significance in human breast cancer. Rakha, E.A., Boyce, R.W., Abd El-Rehim, D., Kurien, T., Green, A.R., Paish, E.C., Robertson, J.F., Ellis, I.O. Mod. Pathol. (2005) [Pubmed]
  6. Developmental expression of mucin genes in the human gastrointestinal system. Reid, C.J., Harris, A. Gut (1998) [Pubmed]
  7. Cysteine-rich domains of muc3 intestinal mucin promote cell migration, inhibit apoptosis, and accelerate wound healing. Ho, S.B., Dvorak, L.A., Moor, R.E., Jacobson, A.C., Frey, M.R., Corredor, J., Polk, D.B., Shekels, L.L. Gastroenterology (2006) [Pubmed]
  8. Localization of mucin (MUC2 and MUC3) messenger RNA and peptide expression in human normal intestine and colon cancer. Chang, S.K., Dohrman, A.F., Basbaum, C.B., Ho, S.B., Tsuda, T., Toribara, N.W., Gum, J.R., Kim, Y.S. Gastroenterology (1994) [Pubmed]
  9. MUC3 and MCA serum levels and steroid receptor content in breast cancer. Quaranta, M., Coviello, M., Daniele, A., Abbate, I., Durrant, L.G., Paradiso, A., Schittulli, F. Int. J. Biol. Markers (2004) [Pubmed]
  10. The MUC3 gene encodes a transmembrane mucin and is alternatively spliced. Williams, S.J., Munster, D.J., Quin, R.J., Gotley, D.C., McGuckin, M.A. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (1999) [Pubmed]
  11. Heterogeneity of mucin gene expression in normal and neoplastic tissues. Ho, S.B., Niehans, G.A., Lyftogt, C., Yan, P.S., Cherwitz, D.L., Gum, E.T., Dahiya, R., Kim, Y.S. Cancer Res. (1993) [Pubmed]
  12. Mucin gene expression in ovarian cancers. Giuntoli, R.L., Rodriguez, G.C., Whitaker, R.S., Dodge, R., Voynow, J.A. Cancer Res. (1998) [Pubmed]
  13. MUC3 human intestinal mucin. Analysis of gene structure, the carboxyl terminus, and a novel upstream repetitive region. Gum, J.R., Ho, J.J., Pratt, W.S., Hicks, J.W., Hill, A.S., Vinall, L.E., Roberton, A.M., Swallow, D.M., Kim, Y.S. J. Biol. Chem. (1997) [Pubmed]
  14. Multiple transcripts of MUC3: evidence for two genes, MUC3A and MUC3B. Pratt, W.S., Crawley, S., Hicks, J., Ho, J., Nash, M., Kim, Y.S., Gum, J.R., Swallow, D.M. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. (2000) [Pubmed]
  15. Mucin gene expression in biliary epithelial cells. Vandenhaute, B., Buisine, M.P., Debailleul, V., Clément, B., Moniaux, N., Dieu, M.C., Degand, P., Porchet, N., Aubert, J.P. J. Hepatol. (1997) [Pubmed]
  16. Mucin core peptide expression can help differentiate Barrett's esophagus from intestinal metaplasia of the stomach. Glickman, J.N., Shahsafaei, A., Odze, R.D. Am. J. Surg. Pathol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  17. Developmental mucin gene expression in the gastroduodenal tract and accessory digestive glands. II. Duodenum and liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Buisine, M.P., Devisme, L., Degand, P., Dieu, M.C., Gosselin, B., Copin, M.C., Aubert, J.P., Porchet, N. J. Histochem. Cytochem. (2000) [Pubmed]
  18. Mucin gene expression in gallbladder epithelium. Lee, K.T., Liu, T.S. J. Formos. Med. Assoc. (2002) [Pubmed]
  19. Expression and characterization of mucins associated with the resistance to methotrexate of human colonic adenocarcinoma cell line HT29. Dahiya, R., Lesuffleur, T., Kwak, K.S., Byrd, J.C., Barbat, A., Zweibaum, A., Kim, Y.S. Cancer Res. (1992) [Pubmed]
  20. MUC6 expression in breast tissues and cultured cells: abnormal expression in tumors and regulation by steroid hormones. de Bolòs, C., Gumà, M., Barranco, C., Garrido, M., Kim, Y.S., Real, F.X. Int. J. Cancer (1998) [Pubmed]
  21. Biosynthesis of two distinct types of mucin in HM3 human colon cancer cells. Ohara, S., Byrd, J.C., Gum, J.R., Kim, Y.S. Biochem. J. (1994) [Pubmed]
  22. Expression of apomucins in the intrahepatic biliary tree in hepatolithiasis differs from that in normal liver and extrahepatic biliary obstruction. Sasaki, M., Nakanuma, Y., Kim, Y.S. Hepatology (1998) [Pubmed]
  23. Biliary epithelial expression of MUC1, MUC2, MUC3 and MUC5/6 apomucins during intrahepatic bile duct development and maturation. An immunohistochemical study. Sasaki, M., Nakanuma, Y., Terada, T., Kim, Y.S. Am. J. Pathol. (1995) [Pubmed]
  24. Initiation of transcription of the MUC3A human intestinal mucin from a TATA-less promoter and comparison with the MUC3B amino terminus. Gum, J.R., Hicks, J.W., Crawley, S.C., Dahl, C.M., Yang, S.C., Roberton, A.M., Kim, Y.S. J. Biol. Chem. (2003) [Pubmed]
  25. UW-preservation of cultured human gallbladder epithelial cells: phenotypic alterations and differential mucin gene expression in the presence of bile. Campion, J.P., Porchet, N., Aubert, J.P., L'Helgoualc'h, A., Clément, B. Hepatology (1995) [Pubmed]
  26. Mucins secreted by cell lines derived from colorectal mucinous carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. Cho, M., Dahiya, R., Choi, S.R., Siddiki, B., Yeh, M.M., Sleisenger, M.H., Kim, Y.S. Eur. J. Cancer (1997) [Pubmed]
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