The crystal structure of a dimeric 2:2:2 FGF:FGFR:heparin ternary complex at 3 A resolution has been determined. Within each 1:1 FGF:FGFR complex, heparin makes numerous contacts with both FGF and FGFR, thereby augmenting FGF-FGFR binding. Heparin also interacts with FGFR in the adjoining 1:1 FGF:FGFR complex to promote FGFR dimerization. The 6-O-sulfate group of heparin plays a pivotal role in mediating both interactions. The unexpected stoichiometry of heparin binding in the structure led us to propose a revised model for FGFR dimerization. Biochemical data in support of this model are also presented. This model provides a structural basis for FGFR activation by small molecule heparin analogs and may facilitate the design of heparin mimetics capable of modulating FGF signaling.