In the present report we describe the isolation and sequence of a partial cDNA (M2-798) for a rat intestinal mucin designated M2. A rat intestinal lambda ZAP II cDNA library was screened using a polyclonal antiserum which was prepared against deglycosylated high-molecular-mass glycopeptides of the purified mucin. Mucin cDNA clones were found to contain tandem repeats of 18 nt which encoded a threonine- and proline-rich peptide having a consensus sequence of TTTPDV. This is the same sequence reported recently by Gum, Hicks, Lagace, Byrd, Toribara, Siddiki, Fearney, Lamport and Kim [(1991) J. Biol. Chem. 266, 22733-22738] for a rat intestinal cDNA called RMUC 176. A novel feature present in the cDNA M2-798 is a 246 nt unique region at the 3′ end which encodes a hydrophobic sequence of 82 amino acids. RNA blots probed with M2-798 cDNA produced a single hybridization band between 7.5 and 9.0 kb in rat small intestine and colon. An identical hybridization pattern was obtained with a PCR-generated cDNA probe corresponding solely to the unique hydrophobic region of M2-798, demonstrating that this region is encoded by the authentic M2 mRNA. Our data suggest that the unique region of M2 has the potential to be either a transmembrane region, or a domain which mediates hydrophobic interactions of the mucin with other molecules. Since we have previously reported another rat intestinal cDNA which encodes the C-terminus of a mucin-like peptide (MLP) [Xu, Wang, Huan, Cutz, Forstner and Forstner (1992) Biochem. J. 286, 335-338], we wished to discover whether M2 was encoded by the same gene. RNA blotting experiments with probes specific for M2 and MLP showed different mRNAs for each. The message for M2 (7.5-8.5 kb) was smaller than that for MLP (> 9.5 kb) and, unlike MLP, gave no signal in human colonic LS174T cells. The results of DNA blots probed with M2-798 and an MLP-probe suggest that M2 and MLP are likely to be single-copy genes. It would appear therefore that normal rat intestine, like human intestine, may express two different mucin genes.

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