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The official name of this gene is “polymerase (RNA) III (DNA directed) polypeptide A, 155kDa.”
POLR3A is the gene's official symbol. The POLR3A gene is also known by other names, listed below.
The POLR3A gene provides instructions for making the largest part (subunit) of an enzyme called RNA polymerase III. This enzyme is involved in the production (synthesis) of ribonucleic acid (RNA), a chemical cousin of DNA. The RNA polymerase III enzyme attaches (binds) to DNA and synthesizes RNA in accordance with the instructions carried by the DNA, a process called transcription. RNA polymerase III helps synthesize several forms of RNA, including ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and transfer RNA (tRNA). Molecules of rRNA and tRNA assemble protein building blocks (amino acids) into working proteins; this process is essential for the normal functioning and survival of cells.
The POLR3A gene belongs to a family of genes called POLR (RNA polymerase subunits).
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? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/howgeneswork/genefamilies) in the Handbook.
At least 27 POLR3A gene mutations have been associated with Pol III-related leukodystrophy. Leukodystrophies are conditions that involve abnormalities of the nervous system's white matter. White matter consists of nerve fibers covered by a fatty substance called myelin, which insulates nerve fibers and promotes the rapid transmission of nerve impulses. A reduced ability to form myelin (hypomyelination) leads to the signs and symptoms of Pol III-related leukodystrophy, which include intellectual disability and difficulty with coordinating movements (ataxia). Development of the teeth (dentition) is also abnormal in this disorder.
In Pol III-related leukodystrophy, POLR3A gene mutations may impair the ability of the subunits of the RNA polymerase III enzyme to assemble properly or result in an RNA polymerase III with impaired ability to bind to DNA. Reduced function of the RNA polymerase III molecule likely affects development and function of many parts of the body, but the relationship between POLR3A gene mutations and the specific signs and symptoms of this disorder is unknown.
People with Pol III-related leukodystrophy may have different combinations of its signs and symptoms. These varied combinations of clinical features were originally described as separate disorders. Affected individuals may be diagnosed with ataxia, delayed dentition, and hypomyelination (ADDH); hypomyelination, hypodontia, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (4H syndrome); tremor-ataxia with central hypomyelination (TACH); leukodystrophy with oligodontia (LO); or hypomyelination with cerebellar atrophy and hypoplasia of the corpus callosum (HCAHC). Because these disorders were later found to have the same genetic cause, researchers now group them as variations of the single condition Pol III-related leukodystrophy.
Cytogenetic Location: 10q22.3
Molecular Location on chromosome 10: base pairs 77,975,148 to 78,029,539
The POLR3A gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 10 at position 22.3.
More precisely, the POLR3A gene is located from base pair 77,975,148 to base pair 78,029,539 on chromosome 10.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/howgeneswork/genelocation) in the Handbook.
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about POLR3A helpful.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.
See How are genetic conditions and genes named? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/naming) in the Handbook.
acids ; ataxia ; atrophy ; corpus callosum ; disability ; DNA ; DNA-directed RNA polymerase ; enzyme ; gene ; hypodontia ; hypogonadism ; hypogonadotropic ; hypoplasia ; leukodystrophy ; molecule ; nervous system ; oligodontia ; protein ; ribonucleic acid ; ribosomal RNA ; RNA ; RNA polymerase ; subunit ; syndrome ; synthesis ; transcription ; transfer RNA ; tremor ; tRNA ; white matter
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/glossary).
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? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/consult/findingprofessional) in the Handbook.