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Reviewed February 2008
What is the official name of the GPC3 gene?
The official name of this gene is “glypican 3.”
GPC3 is the gene's official symbol. The GPC3 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 GPC3 gene?
The GPC3 gene provides instructions for making a protein called glypican 3. This protein is one of several glypicans in humans, each of which consists of a core protein attached to long sugar molecules called heparan sulfate chains. Glypicans are anchored to the cell membrane, where they interact with a variety of other proteins outside the cell. Glypicans appear to play important roles in development before birth. These proteins are involved in numerous cell functions including regulating cell growth and division (cell proliferation), cell survival, cell movement (migration), and the process by which cells mature to carry out specific functions (differentiation).
Several studies have found that glypican 3 interacts with other proteins at the surface of cells to restrain cell proliferation. Researchers believe that in some cell types, glypican 3 may act as a tumor suppressor, which is a protein that prevents cells from growing and dividing in an uncontrolled way to form a cancerous tumor. Glypican 3 may also cause some types of cells to self-destruct (undergo apoptosis) when they are no longer needed, which can help keep growth in check.
Although glypican 3 is known primarily as an inhibitor of cell growth and cell division, in some tissues it appears to have the opposite effect. Research suggests that in certain types of cells, such as cells in the liver, glypican 3 may interact with proteins called growth factors to promote cell growth and cell division.
Does the GPC3 gene share characteristics with other genes?
A gene family is a group of genes that share important characteristics. Classifying individual genes into families helps researchers describe how genes are related to each other. For more information, see What are gene families? in the Handbook.
How are changes in the GPC3 gene related to health conditions?
Where is the GPC3 gene located?
Cytogenetic Location: Xq26.1
Molecular Location on the X chromosome: base pairs 133,535,745 to 133,985,646
(Homo sapiens Annotation Release 107, GRCh38.p2) (
The GPC3 gene is located on the long (q) arm of the X chromosome at position 26.1.
More precisely, the GPC3 gene is located from base pair 133,535,745 to base pair 133,985,646 on the X chromosome.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about GPC3?
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about GPC3 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 GPC3 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 GPC3?
acids ; apoptosis ; cancer ; carcinoma ; cell ; cell division ; cell membrane ; cell proliferation ; colon ; differentiation ; gene ; gene expression ; glycosylphosphatidylinositol ; heparan sulfate ; hepatocellular carcinoma ; liver cancer ; ovarian ; proliferation ; protein ; proteoglycan ; sulfate ; syndrome ; tumor
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (9 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.