Issue 9, 2018

Mucins as multifunctional building blocks of biomaterials


Mucins are large glycoproteins that are ubiquitous in the animal kingdom. Mucins coat the surfaces of many cell types and can be secreted to form mucus gels that assume important physiological roles in many animals. Our growing understanding of the structure and function of mucin molecules and their functionalities has sparked interest in investigating the use of mucins as building blocks for innovative functional biomaterials. These pioneering studies have explored how new biomaterials can benefit from the barrier properties, hydration and lubrication properties, unique chemical diversity, and bioactivities of mucins. Owing to their multifunctionality, mucins have been used in a wide variety of applications, including as antifouling coatings, as selective filters, and artificial tears and saliva, as basis for cosmetics, as drug delivery materials, and as natural detergents. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge regarding key mucin properties and survey how they have been put to use. We offer a vision for how mucins could be used in the near future and what challenges await the field before biomaterials made of mucins and mucin-mimics can be translated into commercial products.

Graphical abstract: Mucins as multifunctional building blocks of biomaterials

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
Review Article
27 Apr 2018
06 Jul 2018
First published
13 Jul 2018
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Biomater. Sci., 2018,6, 2282-2297

Mucins as multifunctional building blocks of biomaterials

G. Petrou and T. Crouzier, Biomater. Sci., 2018, 6, 2282 DOI: 10.1039/C8BM00471D

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. You can use material from this article in other publications without requesting further permissions from the RSC, provided that the correct acknowledgement is given.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity