The molecular diversity of glycosaminoglycans shapes animal development

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2006;22:375-407. doi: 10.1146/annurev.cellbio.22.010605.093433.


Proteoglycans (PGs), molecules in which glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are covalently linked to a protein core, are components of the extracellular matrix of all multicellular organisms. Sugar moieties in GAGs are often extensively modified, which make these molecules enormously complex. We discuss here the role of PGs during animal development, emphasizing the in vivo significance of sugar modifications. We explore a model in which the modification patterns of GAG chains may provide a specific code that contributes to the correct development of a multicellular organism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glycosaminoglycans / biosynthesis
  • Glycosaminoglycans / chemistry*
  • Growth and Development*
  • Humans
  • Polymers
  • Proteoglycans / biosynthesis
  • Proteoglycans / chemistry


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Polymers
  • Proteoglycans