Heparan sulfate is ubiquitous at the cell surface, where it is expressed predominantly on proteoglycans of either the transmembrane syndecan family or the glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchored glypican family, and has been proposed to function as a 'coreceptor' for a number of 'heparin-binding' growth factors. Although little is known about functional differences between individual members of the glypican gene family, mutations in both the Drosophila gene dally and the human gene for glypican-3 strongly suggest that at least some glypicans do function in cellular growth control and morphogenesis. In particular, deletion of the human glypican-3 gene is responsible for Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome, and its associated pie- and postnatal tissue overgrowth, increased risk of embryonal tumors during early childhood, and numerous visceral and skeletal anomalies. We have identified and characterized, by sequencing of EST clones and products of rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE), an mRNA that encodes a 572-amino-acid member of the glypican gene family (glypican-5) that is most related (50% amino acid similarity, 39% identity) to glypican-3. Glypican-5 mRNA is detected as a 3.9- and 4.4-kb transcript in adult and neonatal mouse brain total RNA, and in situ hybridization results localize transcript primarily to restricted regions of the developing central nervous system, limb, and kidney in patterns consistent with a role in the control of cell growth or differentiation. Interestingly, glypican-5 localizes to 13q31-32 of the human genome, deletions of which are associated with human 13q- syndrome, a developmental disorder with a pattern of defects that shows significant overlap with the pattern of glypican-5 expression.