Lecticans: organizers of the brain extracellular matrix

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2000 Feb;57(2):276-89. doi: 10.1007/PL00000690.


Lecticans are a family of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, encompassing aggrecan, versican, neurocan and brevican. These proteoglycans are characterized by the presence of a hyaluronan-binding domain and a C-type lectin domain in their core proteins. Through these domains, lecticans interact with carbohydrate and protein ligands in the extracellular matrix and act as linkers of these extracellular matrix molecules. In adult brain, lecticans are thought to interact with hyaluronan and tenascin-R to form a ternary complex. We propose that the hyaluronan-lectican-tenascin-R complex constitutes the core assembly of the adult brain extracellular matrix, which is found mainly in pericellular spaces of neurons as 'perineuronal nets'.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans / chemistry
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans / genetics
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans / metabolism*
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Organ Specificity
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans