PEG-Lectin Conjugates for Mucin Hydration


This technology is a polyethylene glycol-lectin polymer that hydrates mucin in mucous layers. This invention has potential applications in mouth wash, soap, personal lubricants, eye drops, wound care products, and any other fields in which mucous layer hydration is desired.

Problem Addressed

The mucous layers of the lung, digestive tract, eyes, female genital tract, and mouth are important for the hydration and health of the underlying cells and for preventing infection. Mucin is a highly glycosylated protein that forms a hydrated gel, and it is the protein primarily responsible for lubrication of mucous layers in the body As people age, these mucins can dry out, which leads to discomfort and increased risk of infection by bacteria and yeast. These inventors describe a novel way of re-hydrating dehydrated mucous layers using a hydrated polymer that binds to mucin.


Highly hydrated compounds such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) are normally strongly repulsed by mucin, making re-hydration of mucin layers difficult. Lectins, on the other hand, bind strongly to mucin. These inventors engineered PEG-Lectin fusions that have the hydration properties of PEG and the mucin binding properties of Lectin. The PEG-Lectin conjugate is able to restore hydration to mucous layers in both in vitro and in vivo models, and proved to be non-toxic in both settings. Importantly, the PEG-Lectin conjugates also greatly reduce colonization of yeast and bacteria in dehydrated mucin layers, demonstrating that the PEG-Lectin fusions restore both the lubricating and antimicrobial properties of hydrated mucin mucous layers.


  • PEG-lectin fusions reestablishes hydration in dehydrated mucous layer
  • Restores antimicrobial properties of mucous layer
  • Non-toxic