Glypicans (GPCs) are a family of proteoglycans that are bound to the cell surface by a glycosylphosphatidylinositol anchor. Six glypicans have been found in the mammalian genome (GPC1 to GPC6). GPCs regulate several signaling pathways, including the pathway triggered by Hedgehogs (Hhs). This regulation, which could be stimulatory or inhibitory, occurs at the signal reception level. In addition, GPCs have been shown to be involved in the formation of Hh gradients in the imaginal wing disks in Drosophila. In this review we will discuss the role of various glypicans in specific developmental events in the embryo that are regulated by Hh signaling. In addition, we will discuss the mechanism by which loss-of-function GPC3 mutations alter Hh signaling in the Simpson-Golabi-Behmel overgrowth syndrome, and the molecular basis of the GPC5-induced stimulation of Hh signaling and tumor progression in rhabdomyosarcomas.
Keywords: Glypicans; Hedgehog; Proteoglycans.
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