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Glycoprotein 2 in health and disease: lifting the veil

Yingsong Lin, Masahiro Nakatochi, Naoki Sasahira, Makoto Ueno, Naoto Egawa, Yasushi Adachi, Shogo Kikuchi
Published: 3 December 2021

Abstract: In 2020, we discovered glycoprotein 2 (GP2) variants associated with pancreatic cancer susceptibility in a genome-wide association study involving the Japanese population. Individuals carrying a missense coding variant (rs78193826) in the GP2 gene resulting in a p.V432M substitution had an approximately 1.5-fold higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than those without this variant. GP2 is expressed on the inner surface of zymogen granules in pancreatic acinar cells, which are responsible for the sorting, storage and secretion of digestive enzymes. Upon neuronal, hormonal, or other stimulation, GP2 is cleaved from the membrane of zymogen granules and then secreted into the pancreatic duct and intestinal lumen. While the functions of GP2 remain poorly understood, emerging evidence suggests that it plays an antibacterial role in the gastrointestinal tract after being secreted from pancreatic acinar cells. Impaired GP2 functions may facilitate the adhesion of bacteria to the intestinal mucosa. In this review article, we summarize the role of GP2 in health and disease, emphasizing its functions in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as genetic variations in the GP2 gene and their associations with disease susceptibility. We hope that its robust genetic associations with pancreatic cancer, coupled with its emerging role in gastrointestinal mucosal immunity, will spur renewed research interest in GP2, which has been understudied over the past 30 years compared with its paralog uromodulin (UMOD).
Keywords: GP2 / Pancreas / Acinar cells / UMOD / Antibacterial / Genome-wide association study

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