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Genomics. 2001 Apr 1;73(1):86-97.

Characterization of the human NDRG gene family: a newly identified member, NDRG4, is specifically expressed in brain and heart.

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  • 1Research Institute, Department of Pathology, National Cardiovascular Center, 5-7-1 Fujishirodai, Suita, 565-8565, Japan.


RTP/Drg1/Cap43/rit42/TDD5/Ndr1/NDRG1 (referred to as NDRG1 hereafter) is a cytoplasmic protein involved in stress responses, hormone responses, cell growth, and differentiation. Recently, the mutation of this gene was reported to be causative for hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy-Lom. Here, we cloned two human cDNAs encoding NDRG3 and NDRG4, which are homologous to NDRG1. These two genes, together with NDRG1 and a previously deposited cDNA (designated NDRG2), constitute the NDRG gene family. The four members share 57-65% amino acid identity. NDRG4 was further characterized because its mRNA expression was quite specific in brain and heart, in contrast to the relatively ubiquitous expression of the other three members. NDRG4 mRNA consists of three isoforms, NDRG4-B, NDRG4-B(var), and NDRG4-H. Northern and Western blot analyses showed that NDRG4-B was expressed only in the brain, whereas NDRG4-H was expressed in both brain and heart. NDRG4-B(var) was a minor product. NDRG4 expression was more abundant in adult than fetal brain and heart and was markedly decreased in the Alzheimer's diseased brain. In situ hybridization showed that NDRG4 was localized in neurons of the brain and spinal cord. The NDRG4 gene contains 17 exons. mRNA expression of the three NDRG4 isoforms is regulated by alternative splicing and possibly by alternative promoter usage. The finely tuned expression of the NDRG gene family members suggests that they have different specific functions.

Copyright 2001 Academic Press.

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