Ndrg2 is a PGC-1α/ERRα target gene that controls protein synthesis and expression of contractile-type genes in C2C12 myotubes

Victoria C. Foletta, Erin L. Brown, Yoshitake Cho, Rod J. Snow, Anastasia Kralli, Aaron P. Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The stress-responsive, tumor suppressor N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (Ndrg2) is highly expressed in striated muscle. In response to anabolic and catabolic signals, Ndrg2 is suppressed and induced, respectively, in mouse C2C12 myotubes. However, little is known about the mechanisms regulating Ndrg2 expression in muscle, as well as the biological role for Ndrg2 in differentiated myotubes. Here, we show that Ndrg2 is a target of a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) and estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRα) transcriptional program and is induced in response to endurance exercise, a physiological stress known also to increase PGC-1α/ERRα activity. Analyses of global gene and protein expression profiles in C2C12 myotubes with reduced levels of NDRG2, suggest that NDRG2 affects muscle growth, contractile properties, MAPK signaling, ion and vesicle transport and oxidative phosphorylation. Indeed, suppression of NDRG2 in myotubes increased protein synthesis and the expression of fast glycolytic myosin heavy chain isoforms, while reducing the expression of embryonic myosin Myh3, other contractile-associated genes and the MAPK p90 RSK1. Conversely, enhanced expression of NDRG2 reduced protein synthesis, and furthermore, partially blocked the increased protein synthesis rates elicited by a constitutively active form of ERRα. In contrast, suppressing or increasing levels of NDRG2 did not affect mRNA expression of genes involved in mitochondrial biogenesis that are regulated by PGC-1α or ERRα. This study shows that in C2C12 myotubes Ndrg2 is a novel PGC-1α/ERRα transcriptional target, which influences protein turnover and the regulation of genes involved in muscle contraction and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3112-3123
Number of pages12
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioinformatics
  • C2C12 myotube
  • Estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRα)
  • N-myc downstream-regulated gene 2 (Ndrg2)
  • Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1α (PGC-1α)
  • Protein synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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