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Reviewed July 2012

What is the official name of the SFTPC gene?

The official name of this gene is “surfactant protein C.”

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

The SFTPC gene provides instructions for making a protein called surfactant protein-C (SP-C). This protein is one of four proteins (each produced from a different gene) in surfactant, a mixture of certain fats (called phospholipids) and proteins that lines the lung tissue and makes breathing easy. Without normal surfactant, the tissue surrounding the air sacs in the lungs (the alveoli) sticks together after exhalation (because of a force called surface tension), causing the alveoli to collapse. As a result, filling the lungs with air on each breath becomes very difficult, and the delivery of oxygen to the body is impaired. Surfactant lowers surface tension, easing breathing and avoiding lung collapse. The SP-C protein helps spread the surfactant across the surface of the lung tissue, aiding in the surface tension-lowering property of surfactant.

The phospholipids and proteins that make up surfactant are packaged in cellular structures known as lamellar bodies, which are found in specialized lung cells. The surfactant proteins must go through several processing steps to mature and become functional; some of these steps occur in lamellar bodies.

How are changes in the SFTPC gene related to health conditions?

surfactant dysfunction - caused by mutations in the SFTPC gene

More than 35 mutations in the SFTPC gene have been identified in people with surfactant dysfunction. When this condition is caused by mutations in the SFTPC gene (sometimes called SP-C dysfunction), it can cause severe breathing problems in newborns or gradual onset of milder breathing problems in children or adults.

SFTPC gene mutations associated with surfactant dysfunction affect the processing of the SP-C protein. Many of the mutations occur in a particular region of the gene called the BRICHOS domain, which appears to be involved in the processing and cellular placement of the SP-C protein.

Mutations in the SFTPC gene result in a reduction or absence of mature SP-C and a buildup of abnormal forms of SP-C. It is unclear which of these outcomes causes the signs and symptoms of SP-C dysfunction. Lack of mature SP-C can lead to abnormal composition of surfactant and decreased surfactant function. The loss of functional surfactant would raise surface tension in the alveoli, causing difficulty breathing and collapse of the lungs. Alternatively, research suggests that abnormally processed SP-C proteins form the wrong three-dimensional shape and accumulate inside lung cells. These misfolded proteins may trigger a cellular response that results in cell damage and death. This damage may disrupt surfactant production and release, leading to the breathing problems associated with surfactant dysfunction.

Genetics Home Reference provides information about idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is also associated with changes in the SFTPC gene.

Where is the SFTPC gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 8p21

Molecular Location on chromosome 8: base pairs 22,161,671 to 22,164,479

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

The SFTPC gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 8 at position 21.

The SFTPC gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 8 at position 21.

More precisely, the SFTPC gene is located from base pair 22,161,671 to base pair 22,164,479 on chromosome 8.

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

Where can I find additional information about SFTPC?

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

  • BRICD6
  • PSP-C
  • pulmonary surfactant apoprotein-2 SP-C
  • pulmonary surfactant-associated protein C
  • pulmonary surfactant-associated proteolipid SPL(Val)
  • SFTP2
  • SMDP2
  • SP5
  • SP-C

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 SFTPC?

alveoli ; cell ; deficiency ; domain ; fibrosis ; gene ; idiopathic ; oxygen ; phospholipids ; protein ; pulmonary ; tissue ; Val

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

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (6 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: July 2012
Published: February 1, 2016