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Mucin glycoproteins are the major component of mucus and are integral to the cellular glycocalyx. Mucins play diverse roles in health and disease, are an important element in epithelial tissue models, and have broad therapeutic potential. All mucin applications are currently challenged by their inherent structural heterogeneity and degradation by proteases. In this study, we describe the synthesis and study of chemically defined mucin analogues bearing native glycans. We utilized combinations of enantiomer amino acids and glycan thioether linkages to achieve tunable proteolysis while maintaining cytocompatibility and binding activity. Structural characterization revealed a previously unknown mirror-image helix and sheds light on the molecular drivers of glycoprotein conformation. This work represents an important step toward the development of artificial mucins for biomedical applications.


Victoria R Kohout, Casia L Wardzala, Jessica R Kramer. Mirror Image Mucins and Thio Mucins with Tunable Biodegradation. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2023 Aug 02;145(30):16573-16583

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PMID: 37473442

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