The syndecans, cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs), bind numerous ligands via their HS glycosaminoglycan chains. The response to this binding is flavored by the identity of the core protein that bears the HS chains. Each of the syndecan core proteins has a short cytoplasmic domain that binds cytosolic regulatory factors. The syndecans also contain highly conserved transmembrane domain and extracellular domains for which important activities are slowly emerging. These protein domains, which will be the focus of this review, localize the syndecan to sites at the cell surface during development where they collaborate with other receptors to regulate signaling and cytoskeletal organization.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.