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Reviewed September 2011

What is the official name of the IRF5 gene?

The official name of this gene is “interferon regulatory factor 5.”

IRF5 is the gene's official symbol. The IRF5 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 IRF5 gene?

The protein produced from the IRF5 gene, called interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5), acts as a transcription factor, which means that it attaches (binds) to specific regions of DNA and helps control the activity of certain genes. When a virus is recognized in the cell, the IRF5 gene is turned on (activated), which leads to the production of IRF5 protein. The protein binds to specific regions of DNA that regulate the activity of genes that produce interferons and other cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that help fight infection by promoting inflammation and regulating the activity of immune system cells. In particular, interferons control the activity of genes that help block the replication of viruses, and they stimulate the activity of certain immune system cells known as natural killer cells.

How are changes in the IRF5 gene related to health conditions?

autoimmune disorders - increased risk from variations of the IRF5 gene

Studies have associated normal variations in the IRF5 gene with an increased risk of several autoimmune disorders. Autoimmune disorders occur when the immune system malfunctions and attacks the body's tissues and organs. These disorders include systemic lupus erythematosus, Sjögren syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis.

There is some evidence that certain variations of the IRF5 gene are associated with increased activity of the gene and elevated cytokines. However, it is unknown what role, if any, these effects play in the increased risk of autoimmune disorders. Researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may contribute to the development of these conditions.

systemic scleroderma - increased risk from variations of the IRF5 gene

Several normal variations in the IRF5 gene have been associated with an increased risk of developing systemic scleroderma, which is an autoimmune disorder characterized by the buildup of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin and internal organs. Although the IRF5 gene is known to stimulate the immune system in response to viruses, it is unknown how the gene variations contribute to the increased risk of systemic scleroderma. Researchers believe that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role in development of the condition.

Genetics Home Reference provides additional information about these conditions associated with changes in the IRF5 gene:

Where is the IRF5 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 7q32

Molecular Location on chromosome 7: base pairs 128,937,737 to 128,950,042

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

The IRF5 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 7 at position 32.

The IRF5 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 7 at position 32.

More precisely, the IRF5 gene is located from base pair 128,937,737 to base pair 128,950,042 on chromosome 7.

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

Where can I find additional information about IRF5?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about IRF5 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 IRF5 gene or gene products?

  • IRF-5
  • SLEB10

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 IRF5?

arthritis ; autoimmune ; cell ; colitis ; DNA ; fibrosis ; gene ; immune system ; infection ; inflammation ; interferons ; killer cells ; natural killer cells ; protein ; syndrome ; tissue ; transcription ; transcription factor ; virus

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

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (10 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 2011
Published: February 8, 2016