Stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1)/CXCL12, the ligand for CXCR4, induces signal transduction. We previously showed that CXCL12 binds to high- and low-affinity sites expressed by primary cells and cell lines, and forms complexes with CXCR4 as expected and also with a proteoglycan, syndecan-4, but does not form complexes with syndecan-1, syndecan-2, CD44 or beta-glycan. We also demonstrated the occurrence of a CXCL12-independent heteromeric complex between CXCR4 and syndecan-4. However, our data ruled out the glycosaminoglycan-dependent binding of CXCL12 to HeLa cells facilitating the binding of this chemokine to CXCR4. Here, we demonstrate that CXCL12 directly binds to syndecan-4 in a glycosaminoglycan-dependent manner. We show that upon stimulation of HeLa cells by CXCL12, CXCR4 becomes tyrosine phosphorylated as expected, while syndecan-4 (but not syndecan-1, syndecan-2 or beta-glycan) also undergoes such tyrosine phosphorylation. Moreover, tyrosine-phosphorylated syndecan-4 from CXCL12-stimulated HeLa cells physically coassociates with tyrosine phosphorylated CXCR4. Pretreatment of the cells with heparitinases I and III prevented the tyrosine phosphorylation of syndecan-4, which suggests that the heparan sulfate-dependent binding of SDF-1 to this proteoglycan is involved. Finally, by reducing syndecan-4 expression using RNA interference or by pretreating the cells with heparitinase I and III mixture, we suggest the involvement of syndecan-4 and heparan sulfate in p44/p42 mitogen-activated protein kinase and Jun N-terminal/stress-activated protein kinase activation by action of CXCL12 on HeLa cells. However, these treatments did not modify the calcium mobilization induced by CXCL12 in these cells. Therefore, syndecan-4 behaves as a CXCL12 receptor, selectively involved in some transduction pathways induced by SDF-1, and heparan sulfate plays a role in these events.