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Event: 962

Key Event Title

The KE title should describe a discrete biological change that can be measured. It should generally define the biological object or process being measured and whether it is increased, decreased, or otherwise definably altered relative to a control state. For example “enzyme activity, decreased”, “hormone concentration, increased”, or “growth rate, decreased”, where the specific enzyme or hormone being measured is defined. More help

Increase, Mucin production

Short name
The KE short name should be a reasonable abbreviation of the KE title and is used in labelling this object throughout the AOP-Wiki. The short name should be less than 80 characters in length. More help
Increase, Mucin production

Biological Context

Structured terms, selected from a drop-down menu, are used to identify the level of biological organization for each KE. Note, KEs should be defined within a particular level of biological organization. Only KERs should be used to transition from one level of organization to another. Selection of the level of biological organization defines which structured terms will be available to select when defining the Event Components (below). More help

Cell term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help

Organ term

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.The biological context describes the location/biological environment in which the event takes place.  For molecular/cellular events this would include the cellular context (if known), organ context, and species/life stage/sex for which the event is relevant. For tissue/organ events cellular context is not applicable.  For individual/population events, the organ context is not applicable. More help
Organ term

Key Event Components

Further information on Event Components and Biological Context may be viewed on the attached pdf.Because one of the aims of the AOP-KB is to facilitate de facto construction of AOP networks through the use of shared KE and KER elements, authors are also asked to define their KEs using a set of structured ontology terms (Event Components). In the absence of structured terms, the same KE can readily be defined using a number of synonymous titles (read by a computer as character strings). In order to make these synonymous KEs more machine-readable, KEs should also be defined by one or more “event components” consisting of a biological process, object, and action with each term originating from one of 22 biological ontologies (Ives, et al., 2017; See List). Biological process describes dynamics of the underlying biological system (e.g., receptor signalling). The biological object is the subject of the perturbation (e.g., a specific biological receptor that is activated or inhibited). Action represents the direction of perturbation of this system (generally increased or decreased; e.g., ‘decreased’ in the case of a receptor that is inhibited to indicate a decrease in the signalling by that receptor).Note that when editing Event Components, clicking an existing Event Component from the Suggestions menu will autopopulate these fields, along with their source ID and description. To clear any fields before submitting the event component, use the 'Clear process,' 'Clear object,' or 'Clear action' buttons. If a desired term does not exist, a new term request may be made via Term Requests. Event components may not be edited; to edit an event component, remove the existing event component and create a new one using the terms that you wish to add. More help
Process Object Action
gene expression mucin-5AC increased
secretion mucin-5AC increased

Key Event Overview

AOPs Including This Key Event

All of the AOPs that are linked to this KE will automatically be listed in this subsection. This table can be particularly useful for derivation of AOP networks including the KE. Clicking on the name of the AOP will bring you to the individual page for that AOP. More help
AOP Name Role of event in AOP Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
Decreased lung function KeyEvent Karsta Luettich (send email) Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite Under Development


This is a structured field used to identify specific agents (generally chemicals) that can trigger the KE. Stressors identified in this field will be linked to the KE in a machine-readable manner, such that, for example, a stressor search would identify this as an event the stressor can trigger. NOTE: intermediate or downstream KEs in one AOP may function as MIEs in other AOPs, meaning that stressor information may be added to the KE description, even if it is a downstream KE in the pathway currently under development.Information concerning the stressors that may trigger an MIE can be defined using a combination of structured and unstructured (free-text) fields. For example, structured fields may be used to indicate specific chemicals for which there is evidence of an interaction relevant to this MIE. By linking the KE description to a structured chemical name, it will be increasingly possible to link the MIE to other sources of chemical data and information, enhancing searchability and inter-operability among different data-sources and knowledgebases. The free-text section “Evidence for perturbation of this MIE by stressor” can be used both to identify the supporting evidence for specific stressors triggering the MIE as well as to define broad chemical categories or other properties that classify the stressors able to trigger the MIE for which specific structured terms may not exist. More help

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) can be selected from an ontology. In many cases, individual species identified in these structured fields will be those for which the strongest evidence used in constructing the AOP was available in relation to this KE. More help
Term Scientific Term Evidence Link
human Homo sapiens High NCBI
mouse Mus musculus High NCBI
rat Rattus norvegicus High NCBI

Life Stages

The structured ontology terms for life-stage are more comprehensive than those for taxa, but may still require further description/development and explanation in the free text section. More help
Life stage Evidence
Adult High

Sex Applicability

No help message More help
Term Evidence
Mixed High

Key Event Description

A description of the biological state being observed or measured, the biological compartment in which it is measured, and its general role in the biology should be provided. For example, the biological state being measured could be the activity of an enzyme, the expression of a gene or abundance of an mRNA transcript, the concentration of a hormone or protein, neuronal activity, heart rate, etc. The biological compartment may be a particular cell type, tissue, organ, fluid (e.g., plasma, cerebrospinal fluid), etc. The role in the biology could describe the reaction that an enzyme catalyses and the role of that reaction within a given metabolic pathway; the protein that a gene or mRNA transcript codes for and the function of that protein; the function of a hormone in a given target tissue, physiological function of an organ, etc. Careful attention should be taken to avoid reference to other KEs, KERs or AOPs. Only describe this KE as a single isolated measurable event/state. This will ensure that the KE is modular and can be used by other AOPs, thereby facilitating construction of AOP networks. More help

Mucin production in healthy airway provides an important role in trapping and removing bacterial and viral pathogens and particulates. The major gel-forming mucins of the airways, MUC5AC and MUC5AB, are primarily involved in this function (Lillehoj et al., 2013).  Various stimuli increase mucin production by goblet cells including cigarette smoke, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD), ozone, acrolein, and sulfur dioxide (Lamb and Reid, 1968; Shao et al., 2004; Takeyama et al., 2001; Yu et al., 2011; Casalino-Matsuda et al., 2009; Hewson et al., 2004; Lee et al., 2011; Wagner et al., 2003) as well as bacteria and viruses (Dohrman et al., 1998; Hao et al., 2014; Zhu et al., 2009). Many of these stimuli specifically induce MUC5AC mRNA and protein production through activation of the EGFR pathway (Nadel, 2013). However, other signaling pathways, not necessarily requiring EGFR activation, via STAT6, FOXA2, SPDEF or NFkB have also been implicated in MUC5AC overexpression (reviewed by Turner and Jones, 2009).


How It Is Measured or Detected

One of the primary considerations in evaluating AOPs is the relevance and reliability of the methods with which the KEs can be measured. The aim of this section of the KE description is not to provide detailed protocols, but rather to capture, in a sentence or two, per method, the type(s) of measurements that can be employed to evaluate the KE and the relative level of scientific confidence in those measurements. Methods that can be used to detect or measure the biological state represented in the KE should be briefly described and/or cited. These can range from citation of specific validated test guidelines, citation of specific methods published in the peer reviewed literature, or outlines of a general protocol or approach (e.g., a protein may be measured by ELISA).Key considerations regarding scientific confidence in the measurement approach include whether the assay is fit for purpose, whether it provides a direct or indirect measure of the biological state in question, whether it is repeatable and reproducible, and the extent to which it is accepted in the scientific and/or regulatory community. Information can be obtained from the OECD Test Guidelines website and the EURL ECVAM Database Service on Alternative Methods to Animal Experimentation (DB-ALM). ?

To our knowledge, no validated method for the determination of mucin overproduction exists. In the literature, increased mucin production is frequently equated with increased MUC5AC mRNA and protein expression and much less frequently with changes in MUC5AB mRNA and protein levels.

Alterations in MUC5AC mRNA expression in cell and tissue lysates are commonly assessed by RT-PCR or RT-qPCR, whereas Northern blotting is less frequently used. Changes in MUC5AC protein levels can be detected by ELISA or Western blot in cell and tissue lysates and secretions or by immunocyto/histochemistry/immunofluorescence in cytological preparations or histological tissue sections with an appropriate antibody. It is worth noting here that some antibodies are not suitable for ELISA or Western blot, because extensive glycosylation of mucins may mask epitopes or block access of the antibody to the epitope (Rose and Voynow, 2006). Alternatively, labeled and label-free mass spectrometry-based approaches could be utilized for targeted identification of mucins and their quantification in cell and tissue samples. For in vivo studies and clinical samples, an experienced pathologist may judge the presence and severity of mucin production on histological tissue sections stained with hematoxylin/eosin and Alcian blue and/or periodic acid Schiff stains. A grading or scoring system may enable semi-quantitative assessment, but remains subjective at best since corresponding standards are currently lacking.

Domain of Applicability

This free text section should be used to elaborate on the scientific basis for the indicated domains of applicability and the WoE calls (if provided). While structured terms may be selected to define the taxonomic, life stage and sex applicability (see structured applicability terms, above) of the KE, the structured terms may not adequately reflect or capture the overall biological applicability domain (particularly with regard to taxa). Likewise, the structured terms do not provide an explanation or rationale for the selection. The free-text section on evidence for taxonomic, life stage, and sex applicability can be used to elaborate on why the specific structured terms were selected, and provide supporting references and background information.  More help

The MUC5AC gene is conserved in Rhesus monkey, dog, cow, mouse, rat, zebrafish, and frog, and the MUC5B gene is conserved in dog, mouse, rat, and chicken. Evidence in support of this KE primarily derives from in vitro studies with human cell systems, while corroborating in vivo evidence comes from studies in small rodents (mouse or rat).


List of the literature that was cited for this KE description. Ideally, the list of references, should conform, to the extent possible, with the OECD Style Guide ( (OECD, 2015). More help

Casalino-Matsuda, S., Monzon, M., Day, A., and Forteza, R. (2009). Hyaluronan fragments/CD44 mediate oxidative stress-induced MUC5B up-regulation in airway epithelium. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 40, 277–285.

Dohrman, A., Miyata, S., Gallup, M., Li, J.D., Chapelin, C., Coste, A., Escudier, E., Nadel, J., and Basbaum, C. (1998). Mucin gene (MUC 2 and MUC 5AC) upregulation by Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Biochim Biophys Acta 1406, 251–259.

Hao, Y., Kuang, Z., Jing, J., Miao, J., Mei, L.Y., Lee, R.J., Kim, S., Choe, S., Krause, D.C., and Lau, G.W. (2014). Mycoplasma pneumoniae Modulates STAT3-STAT6/EGFR-FOXA2 Signaling To Induce Overexpression of Airway Mucins. Infect Immun 82, 5246–5255.

Hewson, C., Edbrooke, M., and Johnston, S. (2004). PMA induces the MUC5AC respiratory mucin in human bronchial epithelial cells, via PKC, EGF/TGF-alpha, Ras/Raf, MEK, ERK and Sp1-dependent mechanisms. J Mol Biol 344, 683–695.

Lamb, D., and Reid, L. (1968). Mitotic rates, goblet cell increase and histochemical changes in mucus in rat bronchial epithelium during exposure to sulphur dioxide. J Pathol Bacteriol 96, 97–111.

Lee, Y.C., Oslund, K.L., Thai, P., Velichko, S., Fujisawa, T., Duong, T., Denison, M.S., and Wu, R. (2011). 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin–Induced MUC5AC Expression. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 45, 270–276.

Lillehoj, E. P., Kato, K., Lu, W., & Kim, K. C. (2013). Cellular and Molecular Biology of Airway Mucins. Int Rev Cell Mol Biol, 303, 139–202.

Nadel, J.A. (2013). Mucous hypersecretion and relationship to cough. Pulmonary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 26, 510-513.

Rose, M.C., and Voynow, J.A. (2006). Respiratory tract mucin genes and mucin glycoproteins in health and disease. Physiol Rev 86, 245-278.

Shao, M., Nakanaga, T., and Nadel, J. (2004). Cigarette smoke induces MUC5AC mucin overproduction via tumor necrosis factor-alpha-converting enzyme in human airway epithelial (NCI-H292) cells. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 287, L420–L427.

Takeyama, K., Jung, B., Shim, J., Burgerl, P., Dao-Pick, T., Ueki, I., Protin, U., Kroschel, P., and Nadel, J. (2001). Activation of epidermal growth factor receptors is responsible for mucin synthesis induced by cigarette smoke. Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol 280, L165–L172.

Turner, J., and Jones, C.E. (2009). Regulation of mucin expression in respiratory diseases (Portland Press Limited).

Wagner, J. G., Van Dyken, S. J., Wierenga, J. R., Hotchkiss, J. A., & Harkema, J. R. (2003). Ozone exposure enhances endotoxin-induced mucous cell metaplasia in rat pulmonary airways. Toxicol Sci 74, 437-446.

Yu, H., Li, Q., Zhou, X., Kolosov, V., and Perelman, J. (2011). Role of hyaluronan and CD44 in reactive oxygen species-induced mucus hypersecretion. Mol Cell Biochem 352, 65–75.

Zhu, L., Lee, P., Lee, W., Zhao, Y., Yu, D., & Chen, Y. (2009). Rhinovirus-Induced Major Airway Mucin Production Involves a Novel TLR3-EGFR–Dependent Pathway. Am J Resp Cell Mol Biol 40, 610–619.