Research article

Human mucin gene MUC5AC: organization of its 5′-region and central repetitive region

Fabienne ESCANDE, Jean-Pierre AUBERT, Nicole PORCHET, Marie-Pierre BUISINE


Human mucin gene MUC5AC is clustered with MUC2, MUC5B and MUC6 on chromosome 11p15.5. We report here the full length cDNA sequence upstream of the repetitive region of human MUC5AC. We have also determined the sequence of its large central tandem repeat array. The 5′-region reveals high degree of sequence similarity with MUC2 and MUC5B and codes for 1336 amino acids organized into a signal peptide, four pro-von Willebrand factor-like D domains (D1, D2, D′ and D3) and a short domain which connects to the central repetitive region. In the central region, 17 major domains have been identified. Nine code for cysteine-rich domains (Cys-domains 1–9) and exhibit high sequence similarity to the cysteine-rich domains described in the central region of MUC2 and MUC5B. Cys-domains 1–5 are interspersed by domains enriched with serine, threonine, and proline residues. Cys-domains 1–9 are interspersed by four domains (TR1–TR4) composed of various numbers of MUC5AC-type repeats. Southern-blot analyses reveal allelic variations both in length and nucleotide sequence. The length polymorphism which is due to variable numbers of tandem repeats is located in TR1 and TR4, whereas a mutation polymorphism detected with TaqI is located in Cys-domain 6. In this study, the organization of MUC5AC has been entirely elucidated showing extensive similarity to the other chromosome 11p15 MUC genes, particularly MUC5B, and providing additional arguments for common evolution from a single ancestral gene.

  • chromosome 11p15
  • von Willebrand factor
  • tandem repeat


  • The nucleotide sequences reported here have been submitted to EMBL Nucleotide Sequence Database under the accession numbers AJ298317, AJ298318, AJ298319 and AJ292079.

  • Abbreviations used: poly(A)+, polyadenylated; RT, reverse transcriptase; TR, tandem repeat domain; TSP, threonine/serine/proline-rich domain; VNTR, variable number tandem repeats; vWF, von Willebrand factor.