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Reviewed February 2007

What is the official name of the PCDH15 gene?

The official name of this gene is “protocadherin-related 15.”

PCDH15 is the gene's official symbol. The PCDH15 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 PCDH15 gene?

The PCDH15 gene provides instructions for making a protein called protocadherin 15, a type of protein that helps cells stick together. Protocadherin 15 is made in the inner ear and in specialized cells in the eye that detect light and color (retinal photoreceptors), as well as in other tissues. This protein interacts with other proteins in the cell membrane to carry out its normal role in cell attachment.

In the inner ear, protocadherin 15 probably plays a role in the development and maintenance of hairlike projections called stereocilia. Stereocilia line the inner ear and bend in response to sound waves. This bending motion is critical for converting sound waves to nerve impulses, which is an essential process for normal hearing.

The exact function of protocadherin 15 in the retina has not been determined, but it probably plays a role in the development and maintenance of specialized photoreceptor cells that detect light and color.

Does the PCDH15 gene share characteristics with other genes?

The PCDH15 gene belongs to a family of genes called CDH (cadherins).

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 PCDH15 gene related to health conditions?

nonsyndromic deafness - caused by mutations in the PCDH15 gene

Researchers have identified a few mutations in the PCDH15 gene that cause a form of nonsyndromic deafness (hearing loss without related signs and symptoms affecting other parts of the body) called DFNB23. These mutations lead to changes in single protein building blocks (amino acids) in the protocadherin 15 protein, which alter its normal structure and function. Deafness most likely results from the improper development of stereocilia in the inner ear.

Usher syndrome - caused by mutations in the PCDH15 gene

At least nine mutations that cause Usher syndrome type 1F have been identified in the PCDH15 gene. These mutations result in the production of an abnormally structured or shortened protein that may have little or no function in cells. In the Ashkenazi (eastern and central European) Jewish population, a common mutation replaces the amino acid arginine with a stop signal at position 245 (written as Arg245Ter or R245X) in the protocadherin 15 protein. As a result, an abnormally small version of the protein is made. This mutation may be the most common cause of Usher syndrome type 1 in this population. Because mutations in protocadherin 15 cause defects in the inner ear and retina, loss of hearing and vision can result.

Where is the PCDH15 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 10q21.1

Molecular Location on chromosome 10: base pairs 53,802,771 to 54,801,291

The PCDH15 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 10 at position 21.1.

The PCDH15 gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 10 at position 21.1.

More precisely, the PCDH15 gene is located from base pair 53,802,771 to base pair 54,801,291 on chromosome 10.

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

Where can I find additional information about PCDH15?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about PCDH15 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 PCDH15 gene or gene products?

  • CDHR15
  • DFNB23
  • Pcdh15 protein
  • protocadherin 15
  • USH1F
  • Usher syndrome 1F (autosomal recessive, severe)

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 PCDH15?

acids ; amino acid ; arginine ; autosomal ; autosomal recessive ; cell ; cell membrane ; gene ; mutation ; photoreceptor ; population ; protein ; recessive ; retina ; syndrome

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

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (13 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: February 2007
Published: November 23, 2015