The mucins secreted from the colon carcinoma cell line COLO 205 have the MUC1 and CD43 (leukosialin) as core proteins, where both carry sialyl-Lewis a and MUC1 sialyl-Lewis x epitopes. The adhesion of E-selectin expressing CHO cells to the coated mucins was analyzed in a flow system revealing that the MUC1 mucin adhered better than the CD43 mucin. One reason could be their different glycosylation, a difference that was explored by analyzing the biosynthesis of MUC1 and CD43 in COLO 205 cells. Both the MUC1 and CD43 mucins became sialyl-Lewis a reactive, but after different times as revealed by pulse-chase studies. However, only MUC1 became sialyl-Lewis x reactive. These differences suggest that MUC1 and CD43 are synthesized in different compartments of the cell. It was also observed that the mucins from colon carcinoma patients had MUC1-type mucins that carried both sialyl-Lewis a and x epitopes and CD43-type sialyl-Lewis a mucins with only low levels of sialyl-Lewis x epitopes. One could hypothesize that colon carcinoma derived MUC1 is decorated with potent E-selectin epitopes, and that this could be one of several reasons for the involvement of MUC1 in cancer development.