Research Topic

Proteoglycans as Mediators of Cell Behavior

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About this Research Topic

The local microenvironment of cells plays a central role during development and in the adult through its influence on numerous cellular activities. Proteoglycans (PGs) are a specialized class of glycoproteins expressed throughout the body. They are ubiquitous members of the extracellular matrix (ECM), having ...

The local microenvironment of cells plays a central role during development and in the adult through its influence on numerous cellular activities. Proteoglycans (PGs) are a specialized class of glycoproteins expressed throughout the body. They are ubiquitous members of the extracellular matrix (ECM), having a variety of functions including as enzymes, cell surface receptors and as structural proteins. They play multiple roles in development, cell behavior and homeostasis. The diverse functions of PGs are governed by their structure; PGs consist of a core protein to which one or more sulphated unbranched glycosaminoglycan (GAG) side chains attach at specific sites. Locally-coordinated post-translational biosynthesis of the GAG chain gives rise to the specific biological diversity of PGs. These differences influence the binding of growth factors, protease inhibitors and other ECM molecules along with the formation of specialized complexes to direct cell behavior.

Much data supports the premise that the PGs influence cell behavior via GAGs in processes mediated by the microenvironment. A critical question in PG/GAG biology is how we can target specific GAG structures and PGs to unravel phenotypic and functional outcomes, as well as develop exploitation routes for understanding and regulating multiple cellular functions. Specifically, which PGs are critical in these processes, at which stage of proliferation/differentiation, in what context/tissue/function and how are they in turn regulated is yet to be elucidated, yet has profound implications and diverse applications. Current strategies to unravel these complex interactions include stem cell and regenerative models, human vs. other models, biomaterials, and biochemical approaches.

This Research Topic aims to provide evidence of current studies aimed at understanding key PGs and the tools used to identify and exploit their role in mediating cell behaviors. Thus, the aim of this Research Topic is to collect original research articles, short communications, reviews, mini-reviews, methods/protocols, and perspectives that contribute to the advancements our understanding of PGs.

The following areas can be covered in the scope of this Research Topic:
• Stem cells and regenerative models
• Biomaterials and PG interactions
• Biochemical approaches to PG biology
• PG regulation of signaling molecules
• PGs in exosome biology
• GAG production methods
• Glycocalyx and human health
• PGs in vitro and in vivo
• PGs and tissue homeostasis
• PGs and oncology
• PG technologies in health and disease
• Glycan therapeutics
• PGs as drugs


Keywords: Proteoglycans, Glycocalyx, Glycosaminoglycans, Therapeutics, Cell Behavior


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