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The skin of the frog Xenopus laeevis is protected from microbial infections by a mucus barrier that contains frog integumentary mucins (FIM)-A.1, FIM-B.1, and FIM-C.1. These gel-forming mucins are synthesized in mucous glands consisting of ordinary mucous cells and one or more cone cells at the gland base. FIM-A.1 and FIM-C.1 are unique because their cysteine-rich domains belong to the trefoil factor family (TFF). Furthermore, FIM-A.1 is unusually short (about 400 amino acid residues). In contrast, FIM-B.1 contains cysteine-rich von Willebrand D (vWD) domains. Here, we separate skin extracts by the use of size exclusion chromatography and analyze the distribution of FIM-A.1 and FIM-C.1. Two mucin complexes were detected, i.e., a high-molecular-mass Complex I, which contains FIM-C.1 and little FIM-A.1, whereas Complex II is of lower molecular mass and contains the bulk of FIM-A.1. We purified FIM-A.1 by a combination of size-exclusion chromatography (SEC) and anion-exchange chromatography and performed first in vitro binding studies with radioactively labeled FIM-A.1. Binding of 125I-labeled FIM-A.1 to the high-molecular-mass Complex I was observed. We hypothesize that the presence of FIM-A.1 in Complex I is likely due to lectin interactions, e.g., with FIM-C.1, creating a complex mucus network.


René Stürmer, Jana Reising, Werner Hoffmann. Trefoil Factor Family (TFF) Modules Are Characteristic Constituents of Separate Mucin Complexes in the Xenopus laevis Integumentary Mucus: In Vitro Binding Studies with FIM-A.1. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Mar 31;21(7)

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PMID: 32244312

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