Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Sialomucin complex (SMC, MUC4) is a high Mr glycoprotein heterodimer, composed of mucin (ASGP-1) and transmembrane (ASGP-2) subunits. ASGP-2 contains two EGF-like domains and acts as an intramembrane ligand for the receptor tyrosine kinase ErbB2. Transfection studies with SMC DNAs showed that SMC expression could markedly reduce both cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions in vitro and increase the growth of primary tumors and the formation of metastatic foci of human A375 melanoma cells as xenotransplants in nude mice, possibly through the ability to suppress apoptosis. SMC is expressed in most vulnerable epithelia as a protective agent, which is found in both membrane and soluble forms at luminal surfaces and secreted into fluids such as milk and tears. SMC appears to be constitutively expressed by most accessible epithelia, notable exceptions being the mammary gland and uterine luminal epithelium, in which it is tightly regulated during pregnancy. Down-regulation at the luminal uterine surface appears necessary for blastocyst implantation. TGF-b is a potent repressor of SMC expression in the mammary gland and uterus, though by different mechanisms. These combined results suggest that SMC has multiple functions in epithelia and is tightly regulated in those tissues where its special functions are required.