The syndecans are a family of four cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans in vertebrates that mediate a variety of cell behaviors, including cell adhesion and the action of growth factors. Their core proteins contain conserved transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains but divergent extracellular regions in which only the glycosaminoglycan attachment sites are conserved. By extensive PCR analyses based on the conserved sequences, we find only four syndecan-related sequences in the mouse. These correspond to the previously described core proteins of syndecan proteoglycans from other vertebrates. We have mapped the genes for syndecan-2 to chromosome 15, syndecan-3 to chromosome 4, and syndecan-4 to chromosome 2 in the mouse. Together with the previous localization of the gene for syndecan-1 to chromosome 12, these data establish that the four syndecan genes are dispersed on different chromosomes and that each syndecan gene is located near a member of the myc gene family. Synd1 is next to Nmyc, Synd2 close to myc, Synd3 near Lmyc, and Synd4 on the same chromosome as Bmyc. The physical relationship between the members of these two gene families appears to be ancient and conserved after the two genome duplications thought to have occurred during vertebrate evolution.
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