MUC1 (CD227): a multi-tasked molecule


Mucin 1 (MUC1 [CD227]) is a high-molecular weight (>400 kDa), type I membrane-tethered glycoprotein that is expressed on epithelial cells and extends far above the glycocalyx. MUC1 is overexpressed and aberrantly glycosylated in adenocarcinomas and in hematological malignancies. As a result, MUC1 has been a target for tumor immunotherapeutic studies in mice and in humans. MUC1 has been shown to have anti-adhesive and immunosuppressive properties, protects against infections, and is involved in the oncogenic process as well as in cell signaling. In addition, MUC1 plays a key role in the reproductive tract, in the immune system (affecting dendritic cells, monocytes, T cells, and B cells), and in chronic inflammatory diseases. Evidence for all of these roles for MUC1 is discussed herein and demonstrates that MUC1 is truly a multitasked molecule.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3



Anterior gradient 2


Anaplastic lymphoma kinase

C. jejeni :

Campylobacter jejeni


Cancer antigen


Cancer-associated serum antigen


Cluster of differentiation


Carcinoembryonic antigen


Cytotoxic T lymphocyte


Dendritic cell


Epidermal growth factor receptor


Fibroblast growth factor


N-acetyl galactosamine


N-acetyl glucosamine

H. pylori :

Helicobacter pylori


Human leukocyte antigen


Human milk fat globule


Heat shock protein


Inflammatory bowel disease


Intercellular adhesion molecule 1






Monoclonal antibody


Myelin-associated glycoprotein


Mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue


Murine adenovirus type 1


Mucin-like carcinoma-associated antigen


Myeloid-derived suppressor cell


Macrophage galactose lectin


Major histocompatibility complex


Mammary serum antigen


Human mucin 1


Other species mucin 1


Natural killer


Nuclear magnetic resonance


Ovarian serum antigen

P. aeruginosa :

Pseudomonas aeruginosa


Respiratory syncytial virus


Sea urchin sperm protein-enterokinase-agrin


Small interfering RNA

TF or T:



Transforming growth factor


T helper


Toll-like receptor


Tumor necrosis factor


Monosaccharide of TF


Sialylated Tn


Vascular endothelial growth factor


Variable number of tandem repeats


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The authors would like to thank Prima Biomed Ltd. for their helpful discussions.

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Correspondence to Vasso Apostolopoulos.

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Apostolopoulos, V., Stojanovska, L. & Gargosky, S.E. MUC1 (CD227): a multi-tasked molecule. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 72, 4475–4500 (2015).

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  • MUC1
  • CD227
  • PEM
  • EMA
  • MUC1 isoforms
  • MUC1 expression
  • MUC1 structure
  • MUC1 and disease
  • MUC1 and pathogens
  • MUC1 and cancer