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 September 2014

What is the official name of the DLD gene?

The official name of this gene is “dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase.”

DLD is the gene's official symbol. The DLD 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 DLD gene?

The DLD gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase. This enzyme forms one part (subunit), called the E3 component, of several groups of enzymes that work together (enzyme complexes). These complexes are essential for the breakdown of certain molecules to produce energy in cells.

Branched-chain alpha-keto acid dehydrogenase, or BCKD, is one of the enzyme complexes that include dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase. The BCKD enzyme complex performs one step in the breakdown of three protein building blocks (amino acids). These amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—are obtained from the diet. They are present in many kinds of food, particularly protein-rich foods such as milk, meat, and eggs. The breakdown of these amino acids produces molecules that can be used for energy.

Dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase is also part of the pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) complex. This enzyme complex plays an important role in the production of energy for cells. It converts a molecule called pyruvate, which is formed from the breakdown of carbohydrates, into another molecule called acetyl-CoA. Dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase performs one step of this chemical reaction. The conversion of pyruvate is essential to begin the series of chemical reactions that ultimately produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the cell's main energy source.

Dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase is part of a third enzyme complex involved in cellular energy production. This complex, called alpha-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (αKGDH), converts a molecule called α-ketoglutarate to another molecule called succinyl-CoA. Further steps in this process generate ATP for cells to use as energy.

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

dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency - caused by mutations in the DLD gene

At least 17 mutations in the DLD gene have been found to cause dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency. The signs and symptoms of this severe condition vary widely, but they most commonly include a potentially life-threatening buildup of lactic acid in the tissues (lactic acidosis), neurological problems, and liver disease.

Most DLD mutations change single amino acids in dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase, which prevents the BCKD, PDH, and αKGDH enzyme complexes from functioning normally. Impairment of BCKD function leads to a buildup of valine, isoleucine, and leucine and their byproducts in the body. This accumulation is toxic to cells and tissues, particularly in the nervous system, and contributes to neurological problems in people with dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency. A reduction in pyruvate dehydrogenase function results in buildup of pyruvate, which is converted in another chemical reaction to lactic acid, contributing to lactic acidosis in affected individuals. Impairment of αKGDH leads to the accumulation of alpha-ketoglutarate and likely also contributes to lactic acidosis. Reduced function of these three enzyme complexes also diminishes the production of cellular energy. The brain, which requires especially large amounts of energy, is severely affected, resulting in the neurological problems associated with dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase deficiency. Liver problems are likely also related to decreased energy production in cells. The degree of impairment of each complex contributes to the variability in the features of this condition.

Where is the DLD gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 7q31-q32

Molecular Location on chromosome 7: base pairs 107,891,107 to 107,921,198

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

The DLD gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 7 between positions 31 and 32.

The DLD gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 7 between positions 31 and 32.

More precisely, the DLD gene is located from base pair 107,891,107 to base pair 107,921,198 on chromosome 7.

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

Where can I find additional information about DLD?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about DLD 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 DLD gene or gene products?

  • DIA1
  • diaphorase
  • dihydrolipoamide dehydrogenase (E3 component of pyruvate dehydrogenase complex, 2-oxo-glutarate complex, branched chain keto acid dehydrogenase complex)
  • dihydrolipoyl dehydrogenase
  • DLDH
  • E3 component of pyruvate dehydrogenase
  • GCSL
  • glycine cleavage system L protein
  • LAD
  • lipoamide dehydrogenase
  • lipoamide reductase
  • lipoamide reductase (NADH)
  • lipoyl dehydrogenase
  • PHE3
  • pyruvate dehydrogenase component E3

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 DLD?

acidosis ; acids ; adenosine triphosphate ; ATP ; breakdown ; cell ; CoA ; deficiency ; dehydrogenase ; enzyme ; gene ; glycine ; isoleucine ; lactic acid ; lactic acidosis ; leucine ; molecule ; nervous system ; neurological ; protein ; subunit ; toxic ; valine

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

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (11 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: September 2014
Published: February 8, 2016