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Keywords:

  • glycocalyx;
  • glycosylation;
  • goblet cell;
  • mucin;
  • Trichuris muris

Summary

The intestinal mucosal barrier, part of the innate immune defence, is responsive to the external environment and changes in response to infection. There is disparate evidence for the epithelial and goblet cell products within the intrinsic barrier being part of a response to resolve infection. We comprehensively analysed the changes of mucosal glycoconjugates during acute and chronic infection by utilising the Trichuris muris (T. muris) model. Transcription factors, atonal homolog 1 (Math-1) and SAM pointed domain containing ETS transcription factor (Spdef) were activated during acute infection, which promoted stem cell fate towards a secretory cell phenotype. The thickness of the intermediate barrier, the carbohydrate-rich glycocalyx, composed of cell surface mucins increased with exposure to T. muris, with an increase in Muc4, Muc13 and Muc17. Overall, hypersecretion of glycoproteins into the extrinsic barrier (mediated by IL-13) via the gamma amino-butyric acid-α3 receptor (GABA-α3), was observed during acute infection. Furthermore, altered glycosylation was observed during acute and chronic infection; mucins were more highly charged during acute infection than during chronic infection. This study readdresses the changes within the mucosal barrier, in particular in the cell surface and secreted mucins during acute and chronic nematode infection.