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Reviewed May 2015

What is the official name of the STK11 gene?

The official name of this gene is “serine/threonine kinase 11.”

STK11 is the gene's official symbol. The STK11 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 STK11 gene?

The STK11 gene (also called LKB1) provides instructions for making an enzyme called serine/threonine kinase 11. This enzyme is a tumor suppressor, which means that it helps keep cells from growing and dividing too fast or in an uncontrolled way. This enzyme helps certain types of cells correctly orient themselves within tissues (polarization) and assists in determining the amount of energy a cell uses. This kinase also promotes a type of programmed cell death known as apoptosis. In addition to its role as a tumor suppressor, serine/threonine kinase 11 function appears to be required for normal development before birth.

How are changes in the STK11 gene related to health conditions?

Peutz-Jeghers syndrome - caused by mutations in the STK11 gene

Inherited mutations in the STK11 gene cause Peutz-Jeghers syndrome, a condition characterized by the development of noncancerous growths called hamartomatous polyps in the gastrointestinal tract and a greatly increased risk of developing several types of cancer. More than 340 STK11 gene mutations have been identified in people with this condition. Many of these mutations result in the production of an abnormally short, nonfunctional version of the serine/threonine kinase 11 enzyme. Other mutations change single protein building blocks (amino acids) used to build the enzyme. Mutations in the STK11 gene impair the enzyme's tumor suppressor function, allowing cells to grow and divide without control or order. This uncontrolled cell growth can lead to the formation of hamartomatous polyps and cancerous tumors.

breast cancer - increased risk from variations of the STK11 gene

Inherited changes in the STK11 gene greatly increase the risk of developing breast cancer, as well as other types of cancer, as part of Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (described above). These mutations are thought to account for only a small fraction of all breast cancer cases.

other cancers - associated with the STK11 gene

Noninherited (somatic) mutations in the STK11 gene have been found in various forms of cancer. Somatic mutations are acquired during a person's lifetime and are present only in certain cells. They do not occur as part of a cancer syndrome. Somatic STK11 gene mutations have been identified in a form of lung cancer called non-small cell lung carcinoma, cervical cancer, colorectal cancer, an aggressive type of skin cancer called melanoma, and pancreatic cancer. These mutations impair the function of serine/threonine kinase 11, which can allow cells to grow and divide uncontrollably and contribute to the formation of a cancerous tumor.

Genetics Home Reference provides information about ovarian cancer, which is also associated with changes in the STK11 gene.

Where is the STK11 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 19p13.3

Molecular Location on chromosome 19: base pairs 1,205,799 to 1,228,435

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

The STK11 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 19 at position 13.3.

The STK11 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 19 at position 13.3.

More precisely, the STK11 gene is located from base pair 1,205,799 to base pair 1,228,435 on chromosome 19.

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

Where can I find additional information about STK11?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about STK11 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 STK11 gene or gene products?

  • LKB1
  • PJS
  • serine/threonine kinase 11 (Peutz-Jeghers syndrome)
  • Serine/threonine-protein kinase 11

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 STK11?

acids ; apoptosis ; cancer ; carcinoma ; cell ; colorectal ; enzyme ; gastrointestinal ; gene ; hamartomatous ; inherited ; kinase ; melanoma ; ovarian ; pancreatic ; protein ; serine ; syndrome ; threonine ; threonine kinase ; tumor

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

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (9 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: May 2015
Published: November 30, 2015