Skip Navigation
Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions About   Site Map   Contact Us
Home A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®
Printer-friendly version


Reviewed July 2011

What is the official name of the NGF gene?

The official name of this gene is “nerve growth factor (beta polypeptide).”

NGF is the gene's official symbol. The NGF gene is also known by other names, listed below.

Read more about gene names and symbols on the About page.

What is the normal function of the NGF gene?

The NGF gene provides instructions for making a protein called nerve growth factor beta (NGFβ). This protein is important in the development and survival of nerve cells (neurons), especially those that transmit pain, temperature, and touch sensations (sensory neurons). The NGFβ protein functions by attaching (binding) to its receptors, which initiates signaling pathways inside the cell. The NGFβ protein can bind to two different receptors, the NTRK1 receptor or the p75NTR receptor. Both receptors are found on the surface of sensory neurons and other types of neurons. The binding of the NGFβ protein to the NTRK1 receptor signals these neurons to grow and to mature and take on specialized functions (differentiate). This binding also blocks signals that initiate the process of self-destruction (apoptosis). Additionally, NGFβ signaling through NTRK1 plays a role in pain sensation. It is less clear what binding with the p75NTR receptor signals. Studies suggest that p75NTR signaling can help sensory neurons grow and differentiate but can also trigger apoptosis.

Does the NGF gene share characteristics with other genes?

The NGF gene belongs to a family of genes called endogenous ligands (endogenous ligands).

A gene family is a group of genes that share important characteristics. Classifying individual genes into families helps researchers describe how genes are related to each other. For more information, see What are gene families? in the Handbook.

How are changes in the NGF gene related to health conditions?

hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type V - caused by mutations in the NGF gene

At least one mutation in the NGF gene has been reported to cause hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy type V (HSAN5), a condition characterized by the inability to feel pain and sense hot and cold. This mutation changes a single protein building block (amino acid) in the NGFβ protein. The amino acid arginine is replaced with the amino acid tryptophan at position 100 (written as Arg100Trp or R100W). Studies show that the mutated NGFβ protein cannot bind to the p75NTR receptor and that it alters the signaling through the NTRK1 receptor. In addition, people with HSAN5 have a reduced number of sensory neurons. However, the mechanism by which mutation of the NGF gene leads to the inability to feel pain and temperature sensations is unclear. Although the NGFβ protein is important in many types of neurons, only sensory neurons appear to be affected in people with HSAN5.

Where is the NGF gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 1p13.1

Molecular Location on chromosome 1: base pairs 115,285,916 to 115,338,384

(Homo sapiens Annotation Release 107, GRCh38.p2) (NCBIThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference.)

The NGF gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 1 at position 13.1.

The NGF gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 1 at position 13.1.

More precisely, the NGF gene is located from base pair 115,285,916 to base pair 115,338,384 on chromosome 1.

See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.

Where can I find additional information about NGF?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about NGF helpful.

You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.

What other names do people use for the NGF gene or gene products?

  • beta-nerve growth factor
  • beta-nerve growth factor precursor
  • Beta-NGF
  • HSAN5
  • nerve growth factor, beta subunit
  • NGFB

Where can I find general information about genes?

The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.

These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.

What glossary definitions help with understanding NGF?

amino acid ; apoptosis ; arginine ; cell ; gene ; growth factor ; hereditary ; mutation ; neuropathy ; precursor ; protein ; receptor ; subunit ; tryptophan

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (9 links)


The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.

Reviewed: July 2011
Published: February 8, 2016