The small leucine-rich repeat proteoglycan (SLRPs) family of proteins currently consists of five classes, based on their structural composition and chromosomal location. As biologically active components of the extracellular matrix (ECM), SLRPs were known to bind to various collagens, having a role in regulating fibril assembly, organization and degradation. More recently, as a function of their diverse proteins cores and glycosaminoglycan side chains, SLRPs have been shown to be able to bind various cell surface receptors, growth factors, cytokines and other ECM components resulting in the ability to influence various cellular functions. Their involvement in several signaling pathways such as Wnt, transforming growth factor-β and epidermal growth factor receptor also highlights their role as matricellular proteins. SLRP family members are expressed during neural development and in adult neural tissues, including ocular tissues. This review focuses on describing SLRP family members involvement in neural development with a brief summary of their role in non-neural ocular tissues and in response to neural injury.
© 2012 The Authors Development, Growth & Differentiation © 2012 Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists.