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Reviewed March 2014
What is the official name of the DKC1 gene?
The official name of this gene is “dyskeratosis congenita 1, dyskerin.”
DKC1 is the gene's official symbol. The DKC1 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 DKC1 gene?
The DKC1 gene provides instructions for making a protein called dyskerin. This protein is involved in maintaining structures called telomeres, which are found at the ends of chromosomes. Telomeres help protect chromosomes from abnormally sticking together or breaking down (degrading).
In most cells, telomeres become progressively shorter as the cell divides. After a certain number of cell divisions, the telomeres become so short that they trigger the cell to stop dividing or to self-destruct (undergo apoptosis).
Telomeres are maintained by two important protein complexes, telomerase and shelterin. Telomerase counteracts the shortening of telomeres by adding small repeated segments of DNA to the ends of chromosomes each time the cell divides. One component of telomerase, called hTR, provides a template for creating the repeated sequence of DNA that telomerase adds to the ends of chromosomes. The dyskerin protein attaches (binds) to hTR and helps stabilize the telomerase complex.
In most types of cells, telomerase is either undetectable or active at very low levels. However, telomerase is highly active in cells that divide rapidly, such as cells that line the lungs and gastrointestinal tract, cells in bone marrow, and cells of the developing fetus. Telomerase allows these cells to divide many times without becoming damaged or undergoing apoptosis. Telomerase is also abnormally active in most cancer cells, which grow and divide without control or order.
Dyskerin is also involved in the production of ribosomal RNA (rRNA), a chemical cousin of DNA. Ribosomal RNA is required for assembling protein building blocks (amino acids) into functioning proteins.
How are changes in the DKC1 gene related to health conditions?
Where is the DKC1 gene located?
Cytogenetic Location: Xq28
Molecular Location on the X chromosome: base pairs 154,762,741 to 154,777,688
The DKC1 gene is located on the long (q) arm of the X chromosome at position 28.
More precisely, the DKC1 gene is located from base pair 154,762,741 to base pair 154,777,688 on the X chromosome.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about DKC1?
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about DKC1 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 DKC1 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 DKC1?
acids ; anemia ; aplastic anemia ; apoptosis ; bone marrow ; cancer ; cell ; DNA ; fetus ; fibrosis ; gastrointestinal ; gene ; leukoplakia ; mucosa ; pigmentation ; protein ; pulmonary ; ribosomal RNA ; RNA ; subunit ; telomere ; template
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (12 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.