Disulfide Bonding in Mucin Assembly

Mucins are huge glycoproteins that coat the inner surfaces of the lungs, intestines and other organs to protect them from pathogens and mechanical damage. Using electron microscopy and various biochemical techniques, our lab studies the mechanisms by which mucins forms disulfide-linked polymers. We are also investigating some unexpected ways in which disulfide bonding in the Golgi apparatus contributes to mucin assembly and function. Understanding the factors that determine the chemical and mechanical stability of the mucin coating may suggest ways to enhance its protective function, improving resistance to viral infections and diseases such as lung fibrosis and colitis.