Syndecans are transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycans, with roles in development, tumorigenesis and inflammation, and growing evidence for involvement in tissue regeneration. This is a fast developing field with the prospect of utilizing tissue engineering and biomaterials in novel therapies. Syndecan receptors are not only ubiquitous in mammalian tissues, regulating cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, and differentiation through independent signaling but also working alongside other receptors. Their importance is highlighted by an ability to interact with a diverse array of ligands, including extracellular matrix glycoproteins, growth factors, morphogens, and cytokines that are important regulators of regeneration. We also discuss the potential for syndecans to regulate stem cell properties, and suggest that understanding these proteoglycans is relevant to exploiting cell, tissue, and materials technologies.
- extracellular matrix
- growth factor