1. 1. Analysis of the submandibular saliva revealed that the secretion consists of mucin complexed with 150 kDa fibronectin fragment and DNA. 2. 2. The kallikreins, secreted by the submandibular gland, appear to be responsible for the fibronectin fragmentation, since an identical peptide was also generated when fibronectin was subjected to incubation with the submandibular saliva or the purified enzyme. 3. 3. The results provide evidence that the 150 kDa glycopeptide so-called salivary mucin "link" component is neither an integral part of the mucin molecule, nor linked to mucin subunits by disulfide bonds, but is a fibronectin fragment which associates with mucin. 4. 4. Using mucin monoclonal antibody (3G12), it was revealed that the nonglycosylated (naked) 8-12 kDa fragment of the mucin molecule is responsible for the interaction of mucin with other components of saliva. 5. 5. Under physiological conditions, the interaction of mucin with fibronectin on the luminal surfaces may be relevant in building mucous barrier and protection of the delicate oral epithelium from damage.
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