Extracellular Matrix Adhesive Glycoproteins and Their Receptors in the Nervous System

  • Philippe Douville
  • Salvatore Carbonetto


The extracellular space occupies about 40% of the immature brain (Bondareff and Pysh, 1968), decreasing to 20% in the adult (van Harreveld et al., 1971; Nevis and Collins, 1967). This space is filled with a matrix (ECM) of insoluble glycoconjugates (glycoproteins, proteoglycans) through which neural cell precursors migrate to take up their final positions in the central nervous system (CNS). In the adult peripheral nervous system, regenerating axons must also make their way through the ECM to reach their targets. In these and other instances, adhesion of cells to a matrix or other cells is essential for motility, which results in large part from contractile processes in the cell. A common feature of such adhesions is that they involve interaction of glycoconjugates in the ECM with others (glycoproteins, proteoglycans, and glycolipids) at the cell surface; for example, the adhesive ECM glycoproteins laminin, fibronectin, and collagens bind to receptors on the cell surface. The ramifications of these ECM—receptor interactions in the nervous system may be profound. In some instances they rival those of hormones and growth factors (Edgar et al., 1984) by modifying gene expression (Bissell et al., 1982) and leading to neural cell differentiation (Reh et al., 1987), proliferation (Kleinman et al.,1984), synaptogenesis (Nitkin et al.,1983), neuroblast migration (Newgreen and Thiery, 1980; Boucaut et al.,1984; Liesi, 1985a), Schwann cell ensheathment of peripheral axons (Bunge et al.,1986), and possibly formation of the blood—brain barrier (Arthur et al.,1987).


Basement Membrane Schwann Cell Neurite Outgrowth Neural Crest Cell Globular Domain 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe Douville
    • 1
  • Salvatore Carbonetto
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Neuroscience ResearchMcGill University, Montreal General Hospital Research InstituteMontrealCanada

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