FGFs, heparan sulfate and FGFRs: Complex interactions essential for development

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Fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) comprise a large family of developmental and physiological signaling molecules. All FGFs have a high affinity for the glycosaminoglycan heparin and for cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans. A large body of biochemical and cellular evidence points to a direct role for heparin/heparan sulfate in the formation of an active FGF/FGF receptor signaling complex. However, until recently there has been no direct demonstration that heparan is required for the biological activity of FGF in a developmental system in vivo. A recent paper by Lin et al. has broken through this barrier to demonstrate that heparan sulfate is essential for FGF function during Drosophila development. The establishment of a role for heparan sulfate in FGFR activation in vivo suggests that tissue-specific differences in the structure of heparan may modulate the activity of FGF. (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-112
Number of pages5
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000


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