The low affinity nerve growth factor receptor (NGF R), is a type I transmembrane protein that belongs to the tumor necrosis factor receptor family1 and has been designated TNFRSF16. The NGF receptor is also known as p75 NTR (neurotrophin receptor) because of its ability to bind at low affinity not only to NGF, but also other neurotrophins including brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurotrophin-3 and neurotrophin-4/5. NGF R also binds several myelin derived proteins (Nogo, myelin associated glycoprotein, and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein) as a co-receptor with Nogo receptor.
The NGF receptor is a 75 kDa protein that is expressed in neuronal axons, Schwanns cells and perineural cells of peripheral nerves. Neural crest stem cells have been isolated based on their surface expression of NGF R. In addition, neuroepithelial-derived NGF receptor positive cells have also been demonstrated to be able to differentiate into neurons, smooth muscle and Schwann cells in culture. The expression of the NGF receptor has also been used as a marker to identify mesenchymal precursors as well as hepatic stellate cells.