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    The intestinal tract is protected by epithelium-covering mucus, which is constantly renewed by goblet cells, a specialized type of epithelial cell. Mucus is largely composed of MUC2 mucin, an enormous molecule that poses a high demand on the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) for proper folding and protein assembly, creating a challenge for the secretory machinery in goblet cells. In this issue of the JCI, Grey et al. reveal that the ER resident protein and folding sensor ERN2 (also known as IRE1β) was instrumental for goblet cells to produce sufficient amounts of mucus to form a protective mucus layer. In the absence of ERN2, mucus production was reduced, impairing the mucus barrier, which allowed bacteria to penetrate and cause an epithelial cell stress response. This study emphasizes the importance of a controlled unfolded protein response (UPR) for goblet cell secretion.


    Malin Ev Johansson, Gunnar C Hansson. Goblet cells need some stress. The Journal of clinical investigation. 2022 Sep 01;132(17)

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    PMID: 36047499

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