1College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang and 2College of Life and Environmental Science, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang, PR China
The N-myc downstream regulated gene (Ndrg) family consists of four main members Ndrg1, 2, 3, and 4. The Ndrg genes are involved in many vital biological events including development. However, comprehensive expression patterns of this gene family during vertebrate embryogenesis remain largely unknown. Here, we analyzed the Ndrg family from the evolutionary perspective and examined the expression patterns of the Ndrg genes during Xenopus tropicalis embryogenesis. Different Ndrg family members of vertebrates are separated into different homology clusters which can be further classified into two groups and each Ndrg family member is well conserved during evolution. The temporal and spatial expression patterns of Ndrg1, 2, 3 and 4 are different during early Xenopus tropicalis development. Ndrg1, 2 and 4 are maternally expressed genes while Ndrg3 is a zygotically expressed gene. The Ndrg genes are differentially expressed in the developing central nervous system, the developing sensory organs, and the developing excretory organs. Moreover, they also show other specific expression domains. Our results indicate that the Ndrg genes exhibit specific expression patterns and may play different roles during vertebrate embryogenesis.