Jin-Ping Li research group

Heparan sulfate in animal development

The polysaccharide, heparan sulfate (HS) is ubiquitously expressed in animal tissues. We aim at understanding the multiple biological roles of HS within a broad functional context. Regulation of HS biosynthesis and turnover is studied in molecular detail, and the results are related to embryonic development as well as to homeostasis and pathophysiology. We focus on two critical enzymes, glucuronyl C5-epimerase and heparanase, of key importance in HS biosynthesis and degradation, respectively. Heparanase is implicated in several diseases, and thus provides an attractive therapeutic target. Biochemical, molecular and immunohistological tools are applied, with focus on genetically modified mouse models and cell lines.