GP2, a GPI-anchored glycoprotein that is a useful marker for M cells of Peyer’s patches, is functionally related to the uptake of pathogenic bacteria in the gut lumen. Our immunostaining throughout the whole body of mice detected a broader localization than previously found of GP2 in various mucous glands and secretory cells. In the oral cavity, the palatine gland and lingual gland intensely expressed GP2 with immunolabeling along the basolateral membrane of acini and in luminal secretions of ducts. Secretory portions of the duodenal gland as well as the pancreas were immunoreactive for GP2 in the digestive tract. Luminal contents in the small intestine contained aggregations of GP2-immunoreactive substances which mixed with bacteria. The bulbourethral gland of Cowper displayed the GP2 immunoreactivity among the male reproductive organs. The vaginal epithelium contained many GP2-immunoreactive goblet-like cells, the occurrence of which dramatically changed according to the estrous cycle. These findings show that GP2 is a popular secretory product released from mucous glands and secretory cells and may support defense mechanisms against pathogenic bacteria in the tubular organs open to the external milieu.
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