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J Biol Chem. 2008 Aug 1;283(31):21305-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.R800020200. Epub 2008 May 6.

Biological functions of the small leucine-rich proteoglycans: from genetics to signal transduction.

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Pharmazentrum Frankfurt, Frankfurt, Germany.


The small leucine-rich proteoglycan (SLRP) family has significantly expanded in the past decade to now encompass five discrete classes, grouped by common structural and functional properties. Some of these gene products are not classical proteoglycans, whereas others have new and unique features. In addition to being structural proteins, SLRPs constitute a network of signal regulation: being mostly extracellular, they are upstream of multiple signaling cascades. They affect intracellular phosphorylation, a major conduit of information for cellular responses, and modulate distinct pathways, including those driven by bone morphogenetic protein/transforming growth factor beta superfamily members, receptor tyrosine kinases such as ErbB family members and the insulin-like growth factor I receptor, and Toll-like receptors. The wealth of mechanistic insights into the molecular and cellular functions of SLRPs has revealed both the sophistication of this family of regulatory proteins and the challenges that remain in uncovering the totality of their functions. This review is focused on novel biological functions of SLRPs with special emphasis on their protein cores, newly described genetic diseases, and signaling events in which SLRPs play key functions.

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