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.
Pulse-chase labelling experiments were performed using the mucin-producing colonic carcinoma cell line LS180. Cells were pulsed with [3H]threonine or [3H]glucosamine and chased in complete media without radiolabel for various lengths of time. From cell and media extracts obtained at each time point, mucin proteins were immunoprecipitated with specific anti-mucin antibodies and analysed by SDS/PAGE and fluorography. At short labelling times with [3H]threonine, without chase, a monomeric thiol-reduction-resistant mucin precursor of apparent molecular mass > 670 kDa was identified. The precursor, in contrast to oligomeric species, was not labelled by [3H]glucosamine but exhibited binding to Vicia villosa isolectin B4, suggesting the presence of some core GalNAc residues. Treatment with tunicamycin to inhibit N-glycosylation had no effect on the apparent mass of the precursor. Identity of the mucin antigen with MUC2 mucin was established by immunoprecipitation with antibodies specific for a MUC2 tandem repeat and C-terminal regions. With increasing chase time the precursor was replaced by thiol-reduction-sensitive mucin oligomers that reached peak intracellular radiolabelling with [3H]threonine by 2 h of chase, and then declined. Only oligomeric mucin was secreted into the medium. Secretion of [3H]threonine-labelled mucin was detectable after 2 h of chase and increased as the cytoplasmic mucin label declined. Monensin inhibited [3H]glucosamine incorporation, sialylation and baseline (non-regulated) mucin secretion without affecting initial [3H]threonine incorporation or oligomerization. Oligomerization and Golgi transport are therefore essential early steps in MUC2 mucin secretion. Oligomerization may follow some core O-glycosylation with GalNAc, but precedes elongation of oligosaccharide chains.
The T84 colonic adenocarcinoma cell line, which has been used extensively as a model for studies of epithelial chloride secretion, also produces mucin and secretes it in culture. Electron microscopy of fixed sections of cultured cells, along with Immunogold labelling with an antibody to human small intestine (SI) mucin, revealed the presence of goblet-like cells with mucin-containing secretory granules. The mucin was of high molecular mass, had an amino acid composition similar to that of purified human SI and colonic mucins, and competed effectively with SI mucin for binding to the anti-(SI mucin) antibody. A sensitive solid-phase immunoassay specific for intestinal mucins was developed and used to measure mucin secretion by T84 cells. Cultures were treated for 30 min at 37 degrees C with a number of agents known to cause chloride secretion by T84 cell monolayers and the amount of mucin appearing in the medium was measured. Carbachol (1 mM), A23187 (10 microM), prostaglandin E1 (PGE1) (1 microM) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) (0.1 microM) all stimulated mucin release, but histamine (1 mM) had no effect. Whereas VIP is reported to stimulate chloride secretion more strongly than carbachol, it was less effective than carbachol in stimulating mucin secretion. Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) (0.1-10 microM) also stimulated mucin release strongly, implicating a responsive protein-kinase C-dependent pathway. Additive secretory responses were obtained with combined stimulation by VIP (10 nM-1 microM) and carbachol (1 mM). Responses to stimulation with A23187 (1-10 microM) together with PMA (10 nM-10 microM) suggest that cytosolic Ca2+ concentration is a modulator of PMA activity.