This study states that The mucosal glycocalyx of the ocular surface constitutes the point of interaction between the tear film and the apical epithelial cells. Membrane-associated mucins (MAMs) are the defining molecules of the glycocalyx in all mucosal epithelia. Long recognized for their biophysical properties of hydration, lubrication, anti-adhesion and repulsion, MAMs maintain the wet ocular surface, lubricate the blink, stabilize the tear film and create a physical barrier to the outside world. However, it is increasingly appreciated that MAMs also function as cell surface receptors that transduce information from the outside to the inside of the cell. A number of excellent review articles have provided perspective on the field as it has progressed since 1987, when molecular cloning of the first MAM was reported. The current article provides an update for the ocular surface, placing it into the broad context of findings made in other organ systems, and including new genes, new protein functions and new biological roles. We discuss the epithelial tissue-equivalent with mucosal differentiation, the key model system making these advances possible.

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