An appropriate balance in glycosylation of proteoglycans is crucial for their ability to regulate animal development. Here, we report that the Caenorhabditis elegans microRNA mir-79, an ortholog of mammalian miR-9, controls sugar-chain homeostasis by targeting two proteins in the proteoglycan biosynthetic pathway: a chondroitin synthase (SQV-5; squashed vulva-5) and a uridine 5 -diphosphate-sugar transporter (SQV-7). Loss of mir-79 causes neurodevelopmental defects through SQV-5 and SQV-7 dysregulation in the epidermis. This results in a partial shutdown of heparan sulfate biosynthesis that impinges on a LON-2/glypican pathway and disrupts neuronal migration. Our results identify a regulatory axis controlled by a conserved microRNA that maintains proteoglycan homeostasis in cells.