The syndecans, a family of transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycans, are ubiquitous molecules whose intracellular function is still unknown. To examine the function of syndecan-2, one of the most abundant heparan sulfate proteoglycan in fibroblasts, we performed transfection studies in COS-1 and Swiss 3T3 cells. Endogenous syndecan-2 colocalized with F-actin in cortical structures. Overexpression of full-length syndecan-2 induced the formation of long filopodia-like structures. These changes correlated with a rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton, which strongly colocalized with syndecan-2. Overexpression of syndecan-2 lacking the extracellular domain increased the number of microspikes on the cell surface but failed to induce filopodia. Addition of heparin blocked the effect of full-length syndecan-2, suggesting that heparan sulfate chains in the extracellular domain are necessary to induce filopodia. Coexpression of cdc42Hs negative-dominant N17 blocked syndecan-2-induced filopodia and cdc42Hs positive-dominant V12 had a synergic effect. This indicates that active cdc42Hs is necessary for syndecan-2 induction of filopodia. These results provide a link between syndecan-2, actin cytoskeleton, and cdc42Hs.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.