Mucins secreted by intestinal goblet cells are considered an important component of innate defense in a number of enteric infections, including many parasitic infections, but also likely provide protection against the gut microbiota. Nod proteins are intracellular receptors that play key roles in innate immune response and inflammation. Here, we investigated the role of Nod proteins in regulation of intestinal goblet cell response in naive mice and mice infected with the enteric parasite
Trichuris muris. We observed significantly fewer periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-stained intestinal goblet cells and less mucin (Muc2) in Nod1 and Nod2 double-knockout (Nod DKO) mice after T. murisinfection than in wild-type (WT) mice. Expulsion of parasites from the intestine was significantly delayed in Nod DKO mice. Treatment of naive WT mice with Nod1 and Nod2 agonists simultaneously increased numbers of PAS-stained goblet cells and Muc2-expressing cells, whereas treatment with Nod1 or Nod2 separately had no significant effect. Stimulation of mucin-secreting LS174T cells with Nod1 and Nod2 agonists upregulated core 3 β1,3- N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (C3GnT; an important enzyme in mucin synthesis) and MUC2. We also observed lower numbers of PAS-stained goblet cells and less Muc2 in germfree mice. Treatment with Nod1 and Nod2 agonists enhanced the production of PAS-stained goblet cells and Muc2 in germfree mice. These data provide novel information on the role of Nod proteins in goblet cell response and Muc2 production in relation to intestinal innate defense.