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Reviewed December 2008
What is the official name of the APOE gene?
The official name of this gene is “apolipoprotein E.”
APOE is the gene's official symbol. The APOE 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 APOE gene?
The APOE gene provides instructions for making a protein called apolipoprotein E. This protein combines with fats (lipids) in the body to form molecules called lipoproteins. Lipoproteins are responsible for packaging cholesterol and other fats and carrying them through the bloodstream. Apolipoprotein E is a major component of a specific type of lipoprotein called very low-density lipoproteins (VLDLs). VLDLs remove excess cholesterol from the blood and carry it to the liver for processing. Maintaining normal levels of cholesterol is essential for the prevention of disorders that affect the heart and blood vessels (cardiovascular diseases), including heart attack and stroke.
There are at least three slightly different versions (alleles) of the APOE gene. The major alleles are called e2, e3, and e4. The most common allele is e3, which is found in more than half of the general population.
How are changes in the APOE gene related to health conditions?
Genetics Home Reference provides information about age-related macular degeneration, which is also associated with changes in the APOE gene.
Where is the APOE gene located?
Cytogenetic Location: 19q13.2
Molecular Location on chromosome 19: base pairs 44,905,781 to 44,909,392
The APOE gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 19 at position 13.2.
More precisely, the APOE gene is located from base pair 44,905,781 to base pair 44,909,392 on chromosome 19.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about APOE?
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about APOE 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 APOE gene or gene products?
See How are genetic conditions and genes named? in the Handbook.
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 APOE?
allele ; amyloid ; apolipoprotein ; arteries ; atherosclerosis ; cardiovascular ; cholesterol ; gene ; heart attack ; inherit ; lipoprotein ; low-density lipoproteins ; peptide ; population ; protein ; risk factors ; tissue ; toxic ; triglycerides
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (17 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.