Numerous functions of heparan sulfate proteoglycans are mediated through interactions between their heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan chains and extracellular ligands. Ligand binding specificity for some molecules, including many growth factors, is determined by complex heparan sulfate fine structure, where highly sulfated, iduronate-rich domains alternate with N-acetylated domains. Syndecan-4, a cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycan, has a distinct role in cell adhesion, suggesting its chains may differ from those of other cell surface proteoglycans. To determine whether the specific role of syndecan-4 correlates with a distinct heparan sulfate structure, we have analyzed heparan sulfate chains from the different surface proteoglycans of a single fibroblast strain and compared their ability to bind the Hep II domain of fibronectin, a ligand known to promote focal adhesion formation through syndecan-4. Despite distinct molecular masses of glypican and syndecan glycosaminoglycans and minor differences in disaccharide composition and sulfation pattern, the overall proportion and distribution of sulfated regions and the affinity for the Hep II domain were similar. Therefore, adhesion regulation requires core protein determinants of syndecan-4.
Keywords: Animals; Cells, Cultured; Chromatography, Gel; Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid; Chromatography, Ion Exchange; Electrophoresis, Agar Gel; Fibroblasts; Fibronectins; Heparan Sulfate Proteoglycans; Heparitin Sulfate; Membrane Glycoproteins; Protein Binding; Protein Conformation; Proteoglycans; Rats; Syndecans