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


Reviewed August 2007

What is the official name of the IRGM gene?

The official name of this gene is “immunity-related GTPase family, M.”

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

What is the normal function of the IRGM gene?

The IRGM gene provides instructions for making a protein that plays an important role in the immune system. This protein is involved in a process called autophagy, which cells use to surround and destroy foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. Specifically, the IRGM protein helps trigger autophagy in cells infected with certain kinds of bacteria (mycobacteria), including the type of bacteria that causes tuberculosis. In addition to protecting cells from infection, autophagy is used to recycle worn-out cell parts and break down certain proteins when they are no longer needed. This process also plays an important role in controlled cell death (apoptosis).

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

Crohn disease - increased risk from variations of the IRGM gene

Several variations in or near the IRGM gene have been associated with an increased risk of developing Crohn disease. This increased risk has been found primarily in white populations. IRGM variations change single DNA building blocks (nucleotides) in regions of DNA that may regulate when and how the IRGM protein is produced. It is unclear how these changes influence a person's chance of developing Crohn disease. Researchers suspect that changes involving the IRGM protein may disrupt the autophagy process, preventing the immune system from destroying harmful bacteria effectively. An abnormal immune response to bacteria in the intestinal walls may lead to chronic inflammation and the digestive problems characteristic of Crohn disease.

Where is the IRGM gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 5q33.1

Molecular Location on chromosome 5: base pairs 150,846,523 to 150,902,400

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

The IRGM gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 5 at position 33.1.

The IRGM gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 5 at position 33.1.

More precisely, the IRGM gene is located from base pair 150,846,523 to base pair 150,902,400 on chromosome 5.

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

Where can I find additional information about IRGM?

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

  • A1A4Y4_HUMAN
  • IFI1
  • immunity-related GTPase family, M1
  • IRGM1
  • LRG47
  • LRG-47
  • LRG-47-like protein
  • MGC149263
  • MGC149264

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

What glossary definitions help with understanding IRGM?

apoptosis ; autophagy ; bacteria ; cell ; chronic ; digestive ; DNA ; gene ; immune response ; immune system ; infection ; inflammation ; mycobacteria ; mycobacterium ; protein ; tuberculosis

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


  • Deretic V. Autophagy as an immune defense mechanism. Curr Opin Immunol. 2006 Aug;18(4):375-82. Epub 2006 Jun 19. Review. (
  • MacMicking JD. Immune control of phagosomal bacteria by p47 GTPases. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2005 Feb;8(1):74-82. Review. (
  • NCBI Gene (
  • Parkes M, Barrett JC, Prescott NJ, Tremelling M, Anderson CA, Fisher SA, Roberts RG, Nimmo ER, Cummings FR, Soars D, Drummond H, Lees CW, Khawaja SA, Bagnall R, Burke DA, Todhunter CE, Ahmad T, Onnie CM, McArdle W, Strachan D, Bethel G, Bryan C, Lewis CM, Deloukas P, Forbes A, Sanderson J, Jewell DP, Satsangi J, Mansfield JC; Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, Cardon L, Mathew CG. Sequence variants in the autophagy gene IRGM and multiple other replicating loci contribute to Crohn's disease susceptibility. Nat Genet. 2007 Jul;39(7):830-2. Epub 2007 Jun 6. (
  • Singh SB, Davis AS, Taylor GA, Deretic V. Human IRGM induces autophagy to eliminate intracellular mycobacteria. Science. 2006 Sep 8;313(5792):1438-41. Epub 2006 Aug 3. (


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: August 2007
Published: February 1, 2016