Encyclopedia of Biophysics

Living Edition
| Editors: Gordon Roberts, Anthony Watts, European Biophysical Societies

Mucin Biophysics

  • Anthony Corfield
  • Monica Berry
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-35943-9_474-1



The use of physical and chemical methods to study mucins and mucin systems at different levels of organization: molecular shape, aggregation, polymerization, gelation and viscosity, and gel permeability, all of which underlie physiological functions.

Basic Characteristics

The peptide cores of these molecules undergo posttranslational glycosylation and commonly contain 60–80% of their dry weight as carbohydrate. The glycan chains clustered in the variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) domains represent a structural “fingerprint” of the mucins (see also Glycosidic Linkages). As polyanions, mucins have negative ζ-potential at pH = 7 and neutral at pH ≈ 2. Mature epithelial mucins divide into two groups: secreted and apical membrane associated (transmembrane, membrane-bound mucins) (Carlstedt et al. 1985). Complex pH-sensitive networks are formed by...

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Copyright information

© European Biophysical Societies' Association (EBSA) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bristol Royal InfirmaryUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.School of PhysicsUniversity of BristolBristolUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Elizabeth Hounsell
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological and Chemical SciencesBirkbeck College, University of LondonLondonUK