Heparan sulfate proteoglycans and the emergence of neuronal connectivity

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2006 Feb;16(1):40-51. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2006.01.011. Epub 2006 Jan 18.


With the identification of the molecular determinants of neuronal connectivity, our understanding of the extracellular information that controls axon guidance and synapse formation has evolved from single factors towards the complexity that neurons face in a living organism. As we move in this direction - ready to see the forest for the trees - attention is returning to one of the most ancient regulators of cell-cell interaction: the extracellular matrix. Among many matrix components that influence neuronal connectivity, recent studies of the heparan sulfate proteoglycans suggest that these ancient molecules function as versatile extracellular scaffolds that both sculpt the landscape of extracellular cues and modulate the way that neurons perceive the world around them.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Cell Communication
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans / physiology*
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology


  • Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans