The N-myc downstream regulated gene (NDRG) family: diverse functions, multiple applications

FASEB J. 2010 Nov;24(11):4153-66. doi: 10.1096/fj.09-151464. Epub 2010 Jul 28.


The N-myc downstream regulated gene (NDRG) family of proteins consists of 4 members, NDRG1-4, which are well conserved through evolution. The first member to be discovered and responsible for the family name was NDRG1, because its expression is repressed by the proto-oncogenes MYCN and MYC. All family members are characterized by an α/β hydrolase-fold motif; however, the precise molecular and cellular function of these family members has not been fully elucidated. Although the exact function of NDRG family members has not been clearly elucidated, emerging evidence suggests that mutations in these genes are associated with diverse neurological and electrophysiological syndromes. In addition, aberrant expression as well as tumor suppressor and oncogenic functions affecting key hallmarks of carcinogenesis such as cell proliferation, differentiation, migration, invasion, and stress response have been reported for several of the NDRG proteins. In this review, we summarize the current literature on the NDRG family members concerning their structure, origin, and tissue distribution. In addition, we review the current knowledge regarding the regulation and signaling of the NDRG family members in development and normal physiology. Finally, their role in disease and potential clinical applications (their role as detection or prognostic markers) are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / chemistry
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / chemistry
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Phylogeny


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • N-myc downstream-regulated gene 1 protein