Syndecans-2 and -4; close cousins, but not identical twins

Eok Soo Oh, John R. Couchman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


The vertebrate syndecans, which make up a four-member family of small type I transmembrane heparan sulfate proteoglycans, constitute evolutionarily conserved family proteins. In particular, sequences in the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains are a unifying feature within the family. However, the extracellular domain sequences are molecule-specific, implying that different syndecans have evolved to carry out similar, but non-identical, functions. While all four syndecans have been implicated in regulation of the cytoskeleton, their roles are clearly complex. Recent developments indicate that the closely related syndecan-2 and -4 have separable functions, though both bind a number of ligands through their heparan sulfate chains. The specification of these activities is probably core protein related, but is it due to a distinct expression pattern or molecule-specific regulatory mechanisms? Although there is not yet enough data to provide unambiguous answers, here we shall review the known functions and regulatory mechanisms of syndecan-2 and -4.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-187
Number of pages7
JournalMolecules and Cells
Issue number2
StatePublished - 30 Apr 2004


  • Cell adhesion
  • Cytoskeleton
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Signal transduction
  • Syndecans


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