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


Reviewed January 2009

What is the official name of the LETM1 gene?

The official name of this gene is “leucine zipper-EF-hand containing transmembrane protein 1.”

LETM1 is the gene's official symbol. The LETM1 gene is also known by other names, listed below.

What is the normal function of the LETM1 gene?

The LETM1 gene provides instructions for making a protein whose function is not well understood. This protein is active in mitochondria, which are structures within cells that convert the energy from food into a form that cells can use. The LETM1 protein may be involved in the transport of charged calcium atoms (calcium ions) across membranes within mitochondria. Researchers suspect that the protein also plays a role in determining the shape and volume of mitochondria.

Does the LETM1 gene share characteristics with other genes?

The LETM1 gene belongs to a family of genes called EF-hand domain containing (EF-hand domain containing).

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 LETM1 gene related to health conditions?

Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome - associated with the LETM1 gene

The LETM1 gene is located in a region of chromosome 4 that is deleted in people with the typical features of Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. As a result of this deletion, affected individuals are missing one copy of the LETM1 gene in each cell. Studies suggest that a loss of this gene alters the structure of mitochondria; however, it is unclear how this abnormality is related to the signs and symptoms of Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. Specifically, a loss of the LETM1 gene has been associated with seizures or other abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Where is the LETM1 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 4p16.3

Molecular Location on chromosome 4: base pairs 1,811,479 to 1,856,247

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

The LETM1 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 4 at position 16.3.

The LETM1 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 4 at position 16.3.

More precisely, the LETM1 gene is located from base pair 1,811,479 to base pair 1,856,247 on chromosome 4.

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

Where can I find additional information about LETM1?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about LETM1 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 LETM1 gene or gene products?


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

What glossary definitions help with understanding LETM1?

calcium ; cell ; chromosome ; deletion ; gene ; ions ; leucine ; mitochondria ; protein ; syndrome ; transmembrane

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


  • Dimmer KS, Navoni F, Casarin A, Trevisson E, Endele S, Winterpacht A, Salviati L, Scorrano L. LETM1, deleted in Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome is required for normal mitochondrial morphology and cellular viability. Hum Mol Genet. 2008 Jan 15;17(2):201-14. Epub 2007 Oct 9. (
  • Endele S, Fuhry M, Pak SJ, Zabel BU, Winterpacht A. LETM1, a novel gene encoding a putative EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding protein, flanks the Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS) critical region and is deleted in most WHS patients. Genomics. 1999 Sep 1;60(2):218-25. (
  • NCBI Gene (
  • Nowikovsky K, Froschauer EM, Zsurka G, Samaj J, Reipert S, Kolisek M, Wiesenberger G, Schweyen RJ. The LETM1/YOL027 gene family encodes a factor of the mitochondrial K+ homeostasis with a potential role in the Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. J Biol Chem. 2004 Jul 16;279(29):30307-15. Epub 2004 May 11. (
  • Schlickum S, Moghekar A, Simpson JC, Steglich C, O'Brien RJ, Winterpacht A, Endele SU. LETM1, a gene deleted in Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, encodes an evolutionarily conserved mitochondrial protein. Genomics. 2004 Feb;83(2):254-61. (
  • South ST, Bleyl SB, Carey JC. Two unique patients with novel microdeletions in 4p16.3 that exclude the WHS critical regions: implications for critical region designation. Am J Med Genet A. 2007 Sep 15;143A(18):2137-42. (
  • Tamai S, Iida H, Yokota S, Sayano T, Kiguchiya S, Ishihara N, Hayashi J, Mihara K, Oka T. Characterization of the mitochondrial protein LETM1, which maintains the mitochondrial tubular shapes and interacts with the AAA-ATPase BCS1L. J Cell Sci. 2008 Aug 1;121(Pt 15):2588-600. doi: 10.1242/jcs.026625. Epub 2008 Jul 15. (


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: January 2009
Published: February 8, 2016