N-myc downregulated gene 1 (NDRG1) is a 43-kD protein whose mRNA is induced by DNA damage, hypoxia, or prolonged elevation of intracellular calcium. Although NDRG1 is also upregulated during cell differentiation, there are few studies on NDRG1 expression during postnatal development. Here we investigated the expression and cellular distribution of NDRG1 protein in rat kidney and brain during postnatal development. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that the cellular localization of NDRG1 protein in the kidney changed from the proximal convoluted tubules to the collecting ducts between postnatal days 10 and 20. In the brain, a change in cellular expression was also found from the hippocampal pyramidal neurons to the astrocytes in the gray matter during the same postnatal period. These alterations in the cellular distribution of NDRG1 were associated with shifts in the molecular assembly on Western blots. Under non-reduced conditions, the main NDRG1 band was found only around 215 kD in both kidney and brain during the early postnatal stage. After postnatal day 10, the immunoreactive bands shifted to 43 kD in the kidney and 129 kD in the brain. These changes in the cellular distribution and state of assembly may correlate with the functional maturation of both organs.
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