Functions of proteoglycans at the cell surface.

M. Höök, A. Woods, S. Johansson, L. Kjellén, J. R. Couchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Proteoglycans (primarily heparan sulphate proteoglycans) are found at the surface of most adherent eukaryotic cells. Earlier studies suggest that these molecules can be associated with the cell surface principally by two different mechanisms. Proteoglycans may occur as membrane-intercalated glycoproteins, where the core protein of the proteoglycan is anchored in the lipid interior of the plasma membrane, or they may be bound via the polysaccharide components of the molecule to specific anchoring proteins present at the cell surface. A number of functions have been proposed for cell surface-associated proteoglycans, including: regulation of cell-substrate adhesion; regulation of cell proliferation; participation in the binding and uptake of extracellular components; and participation in the regulation of extracellular matrix formation. Evidence is discussed suggesting that the cell-associated heparan sulphate helps to connect the intracellular cytoskeleton to the extracellular matrix in focal adhesions. This evidence includes: the co-localization of actin and heparan sulphate proteoglycan during the process of cell spreading, and in isolated focal adhesions; biochemical analyses of a hydrophobic heparan sulphate proteoglycan from isolated focal adhesions; and the formation of focal adhesions on substrates made from isolated fibronectin fragments requires the presence of a heparan sulphate-binding site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-157
Number of pages15
JournalCiba Foundation symposium
StatePublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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