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


Reviewed June 2015

What is the official name of the MYH3 gene?

The official name of this gene is “myosin, heavy chain 3, skeletal muscle, embryonic.”

MYH3 is the gene's official symbol. The MYH3 gene is also known by other names, listed below.

What is the normal function of the MYH3 gene?

The MYH3 gene provides instructions for making a protein called embryonic skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain 3. This protein belongs to a group of proteins called myosins, which are involved in cell movement and transport of materials within and between cells. Thick filaments made of myosin, along with thin filaments of another protein called actin, are the primary components of muscle fibers and are important for muscle tensing (contraction).

Each myosin protein complex consists of two pairs of light chains, which regulate the complex and are produced from several other genes, and two heavy chains such as that produced from the MYH3 gene. The heavy chains each have two parts: a head region and a tail region. The head region interacts with actin and includes a segment that attaches (binds) to ATP. ATP is a molecule that supplies energy for cells' activities, including muscle contraction. The long tail region of the myosin heavy chain interacts with other proteins, including the tail regions of other myosins, enabling them to form thick filaments.

Embryonic skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain 3 forms part of a myosin protein complex that is normally active only before birth and is important for early development of the muscles.

Does the MYH3 gene share characteristics with other genes?

The MYH3 gene belongs to a family of genes called myosins (myosins).

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 MYH3 gene related to health conditions?

Freeman-Sheldon syndrome - caused by mutations in the MYH3 gene

At least 26 MYH3 gene mutations have been identified in people with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome. This disorder affects muscle and skeletal development before birth and is characterized by joint deformities (contractures) that restrict movement in the hands and feet. Researchers suggest that the MYH3 mutations that cause Freeman-Sheldon syndrome affect the way the embryonic skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain 3 protein interacts with ATP, reducing the ability of fetal muscle cells to contract. This impairment of muscle contraction may interfere with muscle development in the fetus, resulting in the contractures and other muscle and skeletal abnormalities associated with Freeman-Sheldon syndrome. It is unknown how MYH3 gene mutations relate to other features of this disorder.

Sheldon-Hall syndrome - caused by mutations in the MYH3 gene

At least 15 MYH3 gene mutations have been identified in people with Sheldon-Hall syndrome, a muscle and skeletal disorder similar to Freeman-Sheldon syndrome (described above) that impairs joint movement in the hands and feet. The MYH3 gene mutations that cause Sheldon-Hall syndrome are believed to interfere with the ability of embryonic skeletal muscle myosin heavy chain 3 protein to bind with actin and other muscle proteins, and may also impair the formation of thick filaments. The mutations likely prevent muscle contractions from being properly controlled and interfere with muscle development before birth, resulting in the contractures and other muscle and skeletal abnormalities associated with Sheldon-Hall syndrome.

Where is the MYH3 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 17p13.1

Molecular Location on chromosome 17: base pairs 10,628,526 to 10,679,030

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

The MYH3 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 17 at position 13.1.

The MYH3 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 17 at position 13.1.

More precisely, the MYH3 gene is located from base pair 10,628,526 to base pair 10,679,030 on chromosome 17.

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

Where can I find additional information about MYH3?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about MYH3 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 MYH3 gene or gene products?

  • muscle embryonic myosin heavy chain
  • MYHSE1
  • myosin-3
  • myosin heavy chain 3
  • myosin heavy chain, fast skeletal muscle, embryonic
  • myosin, heavy polypeptide 3, skeletal muscle, embryonic
  • myosin, skeletal, heavy chain, embryonic 1

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

What glossary definitions help with understanding MYH3?

actin ; ATP ; cell ; contraction ; embryonic ; fetus ; gene ; joint ; molecule ; muscle cells ; myosin ; myosin heavy chain ; protein ; skeletal muscle ; syndrome

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


  • Beck AE, McMillin MJ, Gildersleeve HI, Kezele PR, Shively KM, Carey JC, Regnier M, Bamshad MJ. Spectrum of mutations that cause distal arthrogryposis types 1 and 2B. Am J Med Genet A. 2013 Mar;161A(3):550-5. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.35809. Epub 2013 Feb 7. (
  • NCBI Gene (
  • Oldfors A, Lamont PJ. Thick filament diseases. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;642:78-91. Review. (
  • Tajsharghi H, Kimber E, Kroksmark AK, Jerre R, Tulinius M, Oldfors A. Embryonic myosin heavy-chain mutations cause distal arthrogryposis and developmental myosin myopathy that persists postnatally. Arch Neurol. 2008 Aug;65(8):1083-90. doi: 10.1001/archneur.65.8.1083. Erratum in: Arch Neurol. 2008 Dec;65(12):1654. (
  • Toydemir RM, Bamshad MJ. Sheldon-Hall syndrome. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2009 Mar 23;4:11. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-4-11. Review. (
  • Toydemir RM, Rutherford A, Whitby FG, Jorde LB, Carey JC, Bamshad MJ. Mutations in embryonic myosin heavy chain (MYH3) cause Freeman-Sheldon syndrome and Sheldon-Hall syndrome. Nat Genet. 2006 May;38(5):561-5. Epub 2006 Apr 16. (


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: June 2015
Published: February 1, 2016