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Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions     A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®


Reviewed May 2007

What is the official name of the IKBKAP gene?

The official name of this gene is “inhibitor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells, kinase complex-associated protein.”

IKBKAP is the gene's official symbol. The IKBKAP gene is also known by other names, listed below.

What is the normal function of the IKBKAP gene?

The IKBKAP gene provides instructions for making a protein called IKK complex-associated protein (IKAP). This protein is found in a variety of cells throughout the body, including brain cells. It is part of a six-protein complex called the elongator complex. The elongator complex plays a key role in transcription, the process that transfers information in genes to the cell machinery that makes proteins. Researchers believe that the elongator complex is important for the transcription of proteins that affect the cell's structural framework (the cytoskeleton) and cell movement (motility). The cytoskeleton and cell motility are essential for the growth and development of cells. For example, the cytoskeleton plays a critical role in the growth of nerve cells, particularly the specialized extensions called axons and dendrites that are required for the transmission of nerve impulses. Cell motility is crucial for the movement of nerve cells to their proper locations in the brain.

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

familial dysautonomia - caused by mutations in the IKBKAP gene

Nearly all individuals with familial dysautonomia have two copies of the same mutation in each cell. This mutation can disrupt how information in the IKBKAP gene is spliced together during transcription. As a result of this splicing error, a reduced amount of IKAP protein is produced. This mutation behaves inconsistently, however. Some cells produce near normal amounts of IKAP protein, and other cells—particularly brain cells—have very little of the protein.

In a small number of reported familial dysautonomia cases, researchers have identified other mutations that change one of the protein building blocks (amino acids) in the IKAP protein. In these cases, the amino acid arginine is replaced by the amino acid proline at position 696 (written as Arg696Pro), or the amino acid proline is replaced by the amino acid leucine at position 914 (written as Pro914Leu). People with one of these improper amino acid substitutions also have the splicing mutation. Together, these mutations impair the IKAP protein.

It is unclear how IKBKAP mutations lead to the signs and symptoms of familial dysautonomia. Reduced amounts of IKAP protein may impair the growth and development of nerve cells by disrupting the cytoskeleton and cell motility.

Where is the IKBKAP gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 9q31

Molecular Location on chromosome 9: base pairs 108,867,520 to 108,934,328

(Homo sapiens Annotation Release 107, GRCh38.p2) (NCBI (

The IKBKAP gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 9 at position 31.

The IKBKAP gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 9 at position 31.

More precisely, the IKBKAP gene is located from base pair 108,867,520 to base pair 108,934,328 on chromosome 9.

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

Where can I find additional information about IKBKAP?

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

  • DYS
  • elongator complex protein 1
  • ELP1
  • IKAP
  • IKI3
  • TOT1

See How are genetic conditions and genes named? ( in the Handbook.

What glossary definitions help with understanding IKBKAP?

acids ; amino acid ; arginine ; axons ; B-cells ; cell ; cytoskeleton ; enhancer ; familial ; gene ; kinase ; leucine ; mutation ; proline ; protein ; splicing ; transcription

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


  • Anderson SL, Coli R, Daly IW, Kichula EA, Rork MJ, Volpi SA, Ekstein J, Rubin BY. Familial dysautonomia is caused by mutations of the IKAP gene. Am J Hum Genet. 2001 Mar;68(3):753-8. Epub 2001 Jan 22. (
  • Axelrod FB. Familial dysautonomia. Muscle Nerve. 2004 Mar;29(3):352-63. Review. (
  • Close P, Hawkes N, Cornez I, Creppe C, Lambert CA, Rogister B, Siebenlist U, Merville MP, Slaugenhaupt SA, Bours V, Svejstrup JQ, Chariot A. Transcription impairment and cell migration defects in elongator-depleted cells: implication for familial dysautonomia. Mol Cell. 2006 May 19;22(4):521-31. (
  • Cuajungco MP, Leyne M, Mull J, Gill SP, Lu W, Zagzag D, Axelrod FB, Maayan C, Gusella JF, Slaugenhaupt SA. Tissue-specific reduction in splicing efficiency of IKBKAP due to the major mutation associated with familial dysautonomia. Am J Hum Genet. 2003 Mar;72(3):749-58. Epub 2003 Feb 6. (
  • Ibrahim EC, Hims MM, Shomron N, Burge CB, Slaugenhaupt SA, Reed R. Weak definition of IKBKAP exon 20 leads to aberrant splicing in familial dysautonomia. Hum Mutat. 2007 Jan;28(1):41-53. (
  • Leyne M, Mull J, Gill SP, Cuajungco MP, Oddoux C, Blumenfeld A, Maayan C, Gusella JF, Axelrod FB, Slaugenhaupt SA. Identification of the first non-Jewish mutation in familial Dysautonomia. Am J Med Genet A. 2003 May 1;118A(4):305-8. (
  • NCBI Gene (
  • Slaugenhaupt SA, Blumenfeld A, Gill SP, Leyne M, Mull J, Cuajungco MP, Liebert CB, Chadwick B, Idelson M, Reznik L, Robbins C, Makalowska I, Brownstein M, Krappmann D, Scheidereit C, Maayan C, Axelrod FB, Gusella JF. Tissue-specific expression of a splicing mutation in the IKBKAP gene causes familial dysautonomia. Am J Hum Genet. 2001 Mar;68(3):598-605. Epub 2001 Jan 22. (
  • Slaugenhaupt SA, Gusella JF. Familial dysautonomia. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2002 Jun;12(3):307-11. Review. (


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: May 2007
Published: February 1, 2016