, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 417–428 | Cite as

Proteoglycans of basement membranes

  • R. Timpl
Multi-author Reviews Proteoglycans


Proteoglycans carrying either heparan sulfate and/or chondroitin sulfate side chains are typical constituents of basement membranes. The most prominent proteoglycan (perlecan) consists of a 400–500 kDa core protein and three heparan sulfate chains. Electron microscopy and cDNA sequencing show a complex and elongated domain structure for the core protein which in part is homologous to that of the laminin A chain. This structure may be varied by alternative splicing and proteolysis. Integration into basement membranes probably occurs by heparan sulfate binding to laminin and collagen IV, core protein binding to nidogen and by limited self assembly. The proteoglycan is in addition a cell-adhesive protein which is recognized by β1 integrins. Several more proteoglycans with smaller core proteins (10–160 kDa) apparently exist in basement membranes but are less well characterized. Biological functions include control of filtration through basement membranes and binding of growth factors and protease inhibitors.

Key words

Heparan and chondroitin sulfate multidomain structure protein binding cell adhesion filtration growth factors 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Timpl
    • 1
  1. 1.Max-Planck-Institut für BiochemieMartinsriedGermany

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