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Reviewed October 2011
What is the official name of the UBE3A gene?
The official name of this gene is “ubiquitin protein ligase E3A.”
UBE3A is the gene's official symbol. The UBE3A 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 UBE3A gene?
The UBE3A gene provides instructions for making a protein called ubiquitin protein ligase E3A. Ubiquitin protein ligases are enzymes that target other proteins to be broken down (degraded) within cells. These enzymes attach a small protein called ubiquitin to proteins that should be degraded. Cellular structures called proteasomes recognize and digest these ubiquitin-tagged proteins. Protein degradation is a normal process that removes damaged or unnecessary proteins and helps maintain the normal functions of cells.
Studies suggest that ubiquitin protein ligase E3A plays a critical role in the normal development and function of the nervous system. However, its exact role in nervous system cells is unclear.
People normally inherit two copies of the UBE3A gene, one from each parent. Both copies of the gene are turned on (active) in most of the body's tissues. In certain areas of the brain, however, only the copy inherited from a person's mother (the maternal copy) is active. This parent-specific gene activation results from a phenomenon known as genomic imprinting.
How are changes in the UBE3A gene related to health conditions?
Where is the UBE3A gene located?
Cytogenetic Location: 15q11.2
Molecular Location on chromosome 15: base pairs 25,337,234 to 25,439,043
(Homo sapiens Annotation Release 107, GRCh38.p2) (
The UBE3A gene is located on the long (q) arm of chromosome 15 at position 11.2.
More precisely, the UBE3A gene is located from base pair 25,337,234 to base pair 25,439,043 on chromosome 15.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about UBE3A?
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about UBE3A 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 UBE3A gene or gene products?
See How are genetic conditions and genes named? in the Handbook.
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 UBE3A?
centrosome ; chromosome ; degradation ; DNA ; enzyme ; gene ; imprinting ; inherit ; inherited ; ligase ; maternal ; mutation ; nervous system ; papilloma ; protein ; syndrome ; tumor ; ubiquitin ; virus
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (11 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.