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Reviewed August 2008

What is the official name of the PROK2 gene?

The official name of this gene is “prokineticin 2.”

PROK2 is the gene's official symbol. The PROK2 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 PROK2 gene?

The PROK2 gene provides instructions for making a protein called prokineticin 2. This protein interacts with a protein called prokineticin receptor 2 (produced from the PROKR2 gene). On the cell surface, prokineticin 2 attaches to the receptor like a key in a lock. When the two proteins are connected, they trigger a series of chemical signals within the cell that regulate various cell functions.

In animal studies, prokineticin 2 and its receptor have been shown to play a role in the normal development of the olfactory bulb, which is a group of nerve cells in the brain that process smell. Research in animals has also suggested that prokineticin 2 and its receptor are involved in the movement (migration) of nerve cells that produce gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH controls the production of several other hormones that direct sexual development before birth and during puberty. These hormones are also important for the normal function of the gonads (ovaries in women and testes in men).

Several additional functions of prokineticin 2 and its receptor have been discovered in studies with animals. These proteins help stimulate the movement of food through the intestine and are likely involved in the formation of new blood vessels (angiogenesis). They also play a role in coordinating daily (circadian) rhythms, such as the sleep-wake cycle and regular changes in body temperature. Prokineticin 2 and its receptor are active in a region of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), which acts as an internal clock that controls circadian rhythms.

Little is known about the functions of prokineticin 2 and its receptor in humans. These proteins are produced in many organs and tissues, including the small intestine, certain regions of the brain, and several hormone-producing (endocrine) tissues. Researchers believe that the functions of these proteins in humans may be similar to their functions in other animals.

Does the PROK2 gene share characteristics with other genes?

The PROK2 gene belongs to a family of genes called endogenous ligands (endogenous ligands).

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 PROK2 gene related to health conditions?

Kallmann syndrome - caused by mutations in the PROK2 gene

At least five mutations in the PROK2 gene have been identified in people with Kallmann syndrome type 4. Some of these mutations change single protein building blocks (amino acids) in prokineticin 2, while other mutations result in the production of an abnormally short version of the protein or prevent any functional protein from being made. These mutations disrupt the activity of prokineticin 2, but it is unclear how the genetic changes lead to the characteristic features of Kallmann syndrome. Researchers speculate that two PROK2 mutations, or a mutation in PROK2 combined with a mutation in another gene, may be necessary to cause the disorder.

Based on studies in animals, researchers suspect that the altered prokineticin 2 is unable to direct the migration of olfactory nerve cells and GnRH-producing nerve cells to their usual locations in the developing brain. If olfactory nerve cells do not extend to the olfactory bulb, a person's sense of smell will be impaired. Misplacement of GnRH-producing neurons prevents the production of certain sex hormones, which interferes with normal sexual development and causes puberty to be delayed or absent.

Because the features of Kallmann syndrome vary among individuals, researchers believe that additional genetic and environmental factors may be involved.

Where is the PROK2 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 3p13

Molecular Location on chromosome 3: base pairs 71,771,655 to 71,785,206

(Homo sapiens Annotation Release 107, GRCh38.p2) (NCBIThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference.)

The PROK2 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 3 at position 13.

The PROK2 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 3 at position 13.

More precisely, the PROK2 gene is located from base pair 71,771,655 to base pair 71,785,206 on chromosome 3.

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

Where can I find additional information about PROK2?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about PROK2 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 PROK2 gene or gene products?

  • BV8
  • KAL4
  • MIT1
  • PK2
  • Protein Bv8 homolog

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 PROK2?

acids ; angiogenesis ; calcium ; cell ; circadian rhythms ; gene ; hormone ; hypogonadism ; hypogonadotropic ; inheritance ; intestine ; mutation ; nucleus ; olfactory bulb ; protein ; puberty ; receptor ; syndrome ; testes

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

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (8 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: August 2008
Published: February 1, 2016