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Expression of the heparan sulfate proteoglycan glypican-1 in the developing rodent.


The glypicans are a family of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored proteoglycans that, by virtue of their cell-surface localization and possession of heparan sulfate chains, may regulate the responses of cells to numerous heparin-binding growth factors, cell adhesion molecules, and extracellular matrix components. Mutations in one glypican cause a syndrome of human birth defects, suggesting important roles for these proteoglycans in development. Glypican-1, the first-discovered member of this family, was originally found in cultured fibroblasts, and later shown to be a major proteoglycan of the mature and developing brain. Here we examine the pattern of glypican-1 mRNA and protein expression more widely in the developing rodent, concentrating on late embryonic and early postnatal stages. High levels of glypican-1 expression were found throughout the brain and skeletal system. In the brain, glypican-1 mRNA was widely, and sometimes only transiently, expressed by zones of neurons and neuroepithelia. Glypican-1 protein localized strongly to axons and, in the adult, to synaptic terminal fields as well. In the developing skeletal system, glypican-1 was found in the periosteum and bony trabeculae in a pattern consistent with expression by osteoblasts, as well as in the bone marrow. Glypican-1 was also observed in skeletal and smooth muscle, epidermis, and in the developing tubules and glomeruli of the kidney. Little or no expression was observed in the developing heart, lung, liver, dermis, or vascular endothelium at the stages examined. The tissue-, cell type-, and in some cases stage-specific expression of glypican-1 revealed in this study are likely to provide insight into the functions of this proteoglycan in development.

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