Noggin (protein)

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Protein NOG PDB 1m4u.png
Available structures
PDB Ortholog search: PDBe RCSB
Aliases NOG, Nog, SYM1, SYNS1, SYNS1A, noggin
External IDs MGI: 104327 HomoloGene: 3979 GeneCards: NOG
Species Human Mouse
RefSeq (mRNA)



RefSeq (protein)



Location (UCSC) Chr 17: 56.59 – 56.6 Mb Chr 11: 89.3 – 89.3 Mb
PubMed search [1] [2]
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Noggin, also known as NOG, is a protein that is involved in the development of many body tissues, including nerve tissue, muscles, and bones. In humans, noggin is encoded by the NOG gene.[3] The amino acid sequence of human noggin is highly homologous to that of rat, mouse, and Xenopus (an aquatic-frog genus).

The protein's name, which is a slang English-language word for "head," was coined in reference to its ability to produce embryos with large heads when exposed at high concentrations.[4]


Noggin is a signaling molecule that plays an important role in promoting somite patterning in the developing embryo.[5] It is released from the notochord and regulates bone morphogenic protein (BMP4) during development.[6] The absence of BMP4 will cause the patterning of the neural tube and somites from the neural plate in the developing embryo. It also causes formation of the head and other dorsal structures.[6]

Noggin function is required for correct nervous system, somite, and skeletal development.[6] Experiments in mice have shown that noggin also plays a role in learning, cognition, bone development, and neural tube fusion.[citation needed] Heterozygous missense mutations in the noggin gene can cause deformities such as joint fusions and syndromes such as multiple synostosis syndrome (SYNS1) and proximal symphalangism (SIM1).[6] SYNS1 is different from SYM1 by causing hip and vertebral fusions.[6] The embryo may also develop shorter bones, miss any skeletal elements, or lack multiple articulating joints.[6]

Mechanism of action[edit]

The secreted polypeptide noggin, encoded by the NOG gene, binds and inactivates members of the transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) superfamily signaling proteins, such as bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP4).

By diffusing through extracellular matrices more efficiently than members of the TGF-beta superfamily, noggin may have a principal role in creating morphogenic gradients. Noggin appears to have pleiotropic effects, both early in development as well as in later stages.

Knockout model[edit]

A study of a mouse knockout model tracked the extent to which the absence of noggin affected embryological development. The focus of the study was the formation of the ear and its role in conductive hearing loss. The inner ear underwent multiple deformations affecting the cochlear duct, semilunar canal, and otic capsule portions. Noggin's involvement in the malformations was also shown to be indirect, through its interaction with the notochord and neural axis. The kinking of the notochord and disorientation of the body axis results in a caudal shift in the embryonic body plan of the hindbrain. Major signaling molecules from the rhombomere structures in the hindbrain could not properly induce inner ear formation. This reflected noggin's regulating of BMP as the major source of deformation, rather than noggin directly affecting inner ear development.[7]

Clinical significance[edit]

Noggin proteins play a role in germ layer-specific derivation of specialized cells. The formation of neural tissues, the notochord, hair follicles, and eye structures arise from the ectoderm germ layer. Noggin activity in the mesoderm gives way to the formation of cartilage, bone and muscle growth, and in the endoderm noggin is involved in the development of the lungs.[8]

Early craniofacial development is heavily influenced by the presence of noggin in accordance with its multiple tissue-specific requirements. Noggin influences the formation and growth of the palate, mandible and skull through its interaction with neural crest cells. Mice with a lack of NOG gene are shown to have an outgrowth of the mandible and a cleft palate. Another craniofacial related deformity due to the absence of noggin is conductive hearing loss caused by uncontrolled outgrowth of the cochlear duct and coiling.[9]

Recently, several heterozygous missense human NOG mutations in unrelated families with proximal symphalangism (SYM1) and multiple synostoses syndrome (SYNS1) have been identified; both SYM1 and SYNS1 have multiple joint fusion as their principal feature, and map to the same region on chromosome 17 (17q22) as NOG. These mutations indicate functional haploinsufficiency where the homozygous forms are embryonically lethal.[8]

All these NOG mutations have altered evolutionarily conserved amino acid residues.


Noggin was originally isolated from the aquatic-frog genus Xenopus. The discovery was based on the organism's ability to restore normal dorsal-ventral body axis in embryos that had been artificially ventralized by UV treatment. Noggin was discovered in the laboratory of Richard M. Harland and William C. Smith at the University of California, Berkeley because of this ability to induce secondary axis formation in frog embryos.[10]


  1. ^ "Human PubMed Reference:". 
  2. ^ "Mouse PubMed Reference:". 
  3. ^ "Entrez Gene: NOG noggin". 
  4. ^ Oppenheimer SB (1995). "The Discovery of Noggin". The American Biology Teacher. 57 (5): 264. doi:10.2307/4449989. JSTOR 4449989. 
  5. ^ Hirsinger E, Duprez D, Jouve C, Malapert P, Cooke J, Pourquié O (Nov 1997). "Noggin acts downstream of Wnt and Sonic Hedgehog to antagonize BMP4 in avian somite patterning". Development. 124 (22): 4605–14. PMID 9409677. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Marcelino J, Sciortino CM, Romero MF, Ulatowski LM, Ballock RT, Economides AN, Eimon PM, Harland RM, Warman ML (Sep 2001). "Human disease-causing NOG missense mutations: effects on noggin secretion, dimer formation, and bone morphogenetic protein binding". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 98 (20): 11353–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.201367598. PMC 58733Freely accessible. PMID 11562478. 
  7. ^ Bok J, Brunet LJ, Howard O, Burton Q, Wu DK (Nov 2007). "Role of hindbrain in inner ear morphogenesis: analysis of Noggin knockout mice". Developmental Biology. 311 (1): 69–78. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2007.08.013. PMC 2215324Freely accessible. PMID 17900554. 
  8. ^ a b Krause C, Guzman A, Knaus P (Apr 2011). "Noggin". The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology. 43 (4): 478–81. doi:10.1016/j.biocel.2011.01.007. PMID 21256973. 
  9. ^ Masuda S, Namba K, Mutai H, Usui S, Miyanaga Y, Kaneko H, Matsunaga T (2014). "A mutation in the heparin-binding site of noggin as a novel mechanism of proximal symphalangism and conductive hearing loss". Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 447 (3): 496–502. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.04.015. PMID 24735539. 
  10. ^ Valenzuela DM, Economides AN, Rojas E, Lamb TM, Nuñez L, Jones P, Lp NY, Espinosa R, Brannan CI, Gilbert DJ (Sep 1995). "Identification of mammalian noggin and its expression in the adult nervous system". The Journal of Neuroscience. 15 (9): 6077–84. PMID 7666191. 

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