The nm23 gene, a putative metastasis suppressor gene, was originally identified by its reduced expression in highly metastatic K-1735 murine melanoma cell lines, as compared to related, low metastatic melanoma cell lines. Transfection of nm23 cDNA has been reported to suppress malignant progression in Drosophila and mammalian cells. Highly conserved homologues of nm23 have been found in organisms ranging from the prokaryote Myxococcus xanthus to Drosophila, where the gene is involved in normal development and differentiation. The product of the nm23 gene exhibits a nucleoside diphosphate kinase activity, yet the nucleoside diphosphate kinase activity of Nm23 does not correlate with its apparent biological functions. We review recent cellular, genetic, biochemical and X-ray crystallographic data to formulate and evaluate hypotheses concerning the molecular mechanism of nm23 action.