We have shown previously [McCool, Forstner and Forstner (1994) Biochem. J. 302, 111-118] using pulse-chase labelling of mucin with [3H]threonine that LS180 colonic tumour cells synthesize and secrete MUC2 without the addition of secretagogues. Treatment of the LS180 cells with monensin to disrupt Golgi function was also found to inhibit baseline secretion almost completely. In this paper we show that addition of nocodazole to inhibit microtubule assembly reduced baseline secretion by 53% over a 6 h chase period. In contrast, cytochalasin D did not affect the rate of unstimulated mucin synthesis or secretion, suggesting that baseline secretion is not influenced by disruption of actin microfilaments. In addition, regulated mucin secretion by LS180 cells was studied in response to carbachol, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and A23187. Mucin released in response to secretagogues behaved identically on SDS/PAGE to that secreted under baseline conditions. T84 cells and the B6 subclone of the HT29 cell line responded in a similar manner to LS180 cells and secreted high-molecular-mass mucin which included MUC2 and behaved like LS180 mucin on SDS/PAGE. Neither monensin nor nocodazole significantly affected secretagogue-stimulated mucin secretion. Since these compounds inhibited secretion of labelled mucin under baseline conditions, mucin released by secretagogues must have come from a separate, unlabelled mucin pool in stored granules. Cytochalasin D, on the other hand, caused the release of small amounts of stored mucin, suggesting that actin microfilaments participate in regulated exocytosis. Thus two kinds of mucin secretion occur in LS180 cells. Unregulated secretion depends upon continuous transport of mucin granules from Golgi vesicles to the cell surface and does not utilize stored mucin, whereas regulated secretion involves the release of mucin from storage granules and is not affected by microtubule or Golgi disruption.

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