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Reviewed November 2010

What is the official name of the ELOVL4 gene?

The official name of this gene is “ELOVL fatty acid elongase 4.”

ELOVL4 is the gene's official symbol. The ELOVL4 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 ELOVL4 gene?

The ELOVL4 gene provides instructions for making a protein that is found primarily in the retina, the specialized light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Within the retina, the ELOVL4 protein is produced in specialized light receptor cells (photoreceptors). The ELOVL4 protein is also found in the brain and skin, but less is known about its activity (expression) in these structures.

Inside photoreceptor cells, this protein is located in a cell structure called the endoplasmic reticulum that is involved in protein production, processing, and transport. The ELOVL4 protein plays a role in making a group of fats called very long-chain fatty acids. The protein helps add carbon molecules to long-chain fatty acids, making them very long-chain fatty acids. The function of the very long-chain fatty acids produced by the ELOVL4 protein is unknown.

How are changes in the ELOVL4 gene related to health conditions?

Stargardt macular degeneration - caused by mutations in the ELOVL4 gene

At least three mutations in the ELOVL4 gene have been found to cause Stargardt macular degeneration. These mutations create a premature stop signal in the instructions used to make the ELOVL4 protein. As a result, the protein cannot be retained in the endoplasmic reticulum of photoreceptor cells. Instead, the ELOVL4 protein forms clumps (aggregates). These aggregates cannot make very long-chain fatty acids and may interfere with cell functions, ultimately leading to cell death. The loss of photoreceptor cells causes progressive vision loss in people with Stargardt macular degeneration. Mutations in the ELOVL4 gene are a rare cause of this condition.

Genetics Home Reference provides information about age-related macular degeneration, which is also associated with changes in the ELOVL4 gene.

Where is the ELOVL4 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 6q14

Molecular Location on chromosome 6: base pairs 79,914,812 to 79,947,598

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

The ELOVL4 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 6 at position 14.

The ELOVL4 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 6 at position 14.

More precisely, the ELOVL4 gene is located from base pair 79,914,812 to base pair 79,947,598 on chromosome 6.

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

Where can I find additional information about ELOVL4?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about ELOVL4 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 ELOVL4 gene or gene products?

  • elongation of very long chain fatty acids (FEN1/Elo2, SUR4/Elo3, yeast)-like 4
  • elongation of very long chain fatty acids protein 4

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 ELOVL4?

acids ; cell ; endoplasmic reticulum ; fatty acids ; gene ; photoreceptor ; protein ; receptor ; retina ; tissue

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

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (5 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: November 2010
Published: February 1, 2016