Syndecan receptors: Pericellular regulators in development and inflammatory disease

Sandeep Gopal, Samantha Arokiasamy, Csilla Pataki, James R. Whiteford, John R. Couchman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The syndecans are the major family of transmembrane proteoglycans, usually bearing multiple heparan sulfate chains. They are present on virtually all nucleated cells of vertebrates and are also present in invertebrates, indicative of a long evolutionary history. Genetic models in both vertebrates and invertebrates have shown that syndecans link to the actin cytoskeleton and can fine-tune cell adhesion, migration, junction formation, polarity and differentiation. Although often associated as co-receptors with other classes of receptors (e.g. integrins, growth factor and morphogen receptors), syndecans can nonetheless signal to the cytoplasm in discrete ways. Syndecan expression levels are upregulated in development, tissue repair and an array of human diseases, which has led to the increased appreciation that they may be important in pathogenesis not only as diagnostic or prognostic agents, but also as potential targets. Here, their functions in development and inflammatory diseases are summarized, including their potential roles as conduits for viral pathogen entry into cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number200377
Number of pages19
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • cell adhesion
  • glycosaminoglycan
  • heparan sulfate
  • inflammation
  • proteoglycan
  • stem cell

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