The membrane-bound mucins have a heavily O-glycosylated extracellular domain, a single-pass membrane domain and a short cytoplasmic tail. Three of the membrane-bound mucins, MUC3, MUC12 and MUC17, are clustered on chromosome 7 and found in the gastrointestinal tract. These mucins have C-terminal sequences typical of PDZ-domain-binding proteins. To identify PDZ proteins that are able to interact with the mucins, we screened PDZ domain arrays using YFP (yellow fluorescent protein)-tagged proteins. MUC17 exhibited a strong binding to PDZK1 (PDZ domain containing 1), whereas the binding to NHERF1 (Na+/H+-exchanger regulatory factor 1) was weak. Furthermore, we showed weak binding of MUC12 to PDZK1, NHERF1 and NHERF2. GST (glutathione transferase) pull-down experiments confirmed that the C-terminal tail of MUC17 co-precipitates with the scaffold protein PDZK1 as identified by MS. This was mediated through the C-terminal PDZ-interaction site in MUC17, which was capable of binding to three of the four PDZ domains in PDZK1. Immunostaining of wild-type or Pdzk1-/-mouse jejunum with an antiserum against Muc3(17), the mouse orthologue of human MUC17, revealed strong brush-border membrane staining in the wild-type mice compared with an intracellular Muc3(17) staining in the Pdzk1-/-mice. This suggests that Pdzk1 plays a specific role in stabilizing Muc3(17) in the apical membrane of small intestinal enterocytes.

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Biochemical Journal
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Malmberg, E., Pelaseyed, T., Petersson, Å., Seidler, U., de Jonge, H., Riordan, J., & Hansson, G. (2008). The C-terminus of the transmembrane mucin MUC17 binds to the scaffold protein PDZK1 that stably localizes it to the enterocyte apical membrane in the small intestine. Biochemical Journal, 410(2), 283–289. doi:10.1042/BJ20071068