Role of glycosaminoglycans in cellular communication

Acc Chem Res. 2004 Jul;37(7):431-8. doi: 10.1021/ar030138x.


Glycosaminoglycans are of critical importance in intercellular communication in organisms. This ubiquitous class of linear polyanions interacts with a wide variety of proteins, including growth factors and chemokines, which regulate important physiological processes. The presence of glycosaminoglycans on cell membranes and in the extracellular matrix also has resulted in their exploitation by infectious pathogens to gain access and entry into animal cells. This Account examines the structural and physical characteristics of these molecules responsible for their interaction with proteins important in cell-cell communication.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Physiological Phenomena
  • Carbohydrate Sequence
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cell Communication*
  • Chemokines / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Glycosaminoglycans / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Parasites / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Virus Physiological Phenomena


  • Chemokines
  • Glycosaminoglycans