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Marsico Lung Institute/UNC Cystic Fibrosis Center

Image of MUC16

An Atomic Force Microscope Image of MUC16.

MUC16 is one of the glycoproteins found in the glycocalyx, which is the tethered gel network that helps to protect cells from pathogens. MUC16 is heavily coated with chains of sugar. The image above, captured by Jerome Carpenter, PhD, shows a single MUC16 molecule with keratan sulfate sugar chains (keratan sulfate chains are the “hair-like” protrusions from the central strand). Scale bar = 200 nm.

Credit: Carpenter J, Kesimer M. Membrane-bound mucins of the airway mucosal surfaces are densely decorated with keratan sulfate: revisiting their role in the Lung’s innate defense. Glycobiology. 2021 May 3;31(4):436-443. doi: 10.1093/glycob/cwaa089. PMID: 33083824; PMCID: PMC8091473.

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