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Genetics Home Reference: your guide to understanding genetic conditions     A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine®

RPL gene family

Reviewed February 2012

What are the RPL genes?

Genes in the RPL family provide instructions for making some of the approximately 80 different ribosomal proteins, which are components of cellular structures called ribosomes. Ribosomes process the cell's genetic instructions to create new proteins.

Each ribosome is made up of two parts (subunits) called the large and small subunits. The subunits each consist of multiple ribosomal proteins and RNA, a chemical cousin of DNA. The proteins produced from members of the RPL gene family are found in the large subunit.

The specific functions of the individual ribosomal proteins within the large subunit are unclear. Some ribosomal proteins are involved in the assembly or stability of ribosomes. Others help carry out the ribosome's main function of building new proteins. Studies suggest that some ribosomal proteins may have other functions, such as participating in chemical signaling pathways within the cell, regulating cell division, and controlling the self-destruction of cells (apoptosis).

Which genes are included in the RPL gene family?

The HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) provides an index of gene families ( and their member genes.

Genetics Home Reference summarizes the normal function and health implications of these members of the RPL gene family: RPL5, RPL11, and RPL35A.

What conditions are related to genes in the RPL gene family?

Genetics Home Reference includes these conditions related to genes in the RPL gene family:

  • Diamond-Blackfan anemia

Where can I find additional information about the RPL gene family?

You may find the following resources about the RPL gene family helpful.

  • Molecular Biology of the Cell (fourth edition, 2002): The RNA message is decoded on ribosomes (
  • The Cell: A Molecular Approach (second edition, 2000): Ribosome Assembly (figure) (

What glossary definitions help with understanding the RPL gene family?

apoptosis ; cell ; cell division ; DNA ; gene ; protein ; ribosomes ; RNA ; subunit

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


These sources were used to develop the Genetics Home Reference summary for the RPL gene family.

  • Bhavsar RB, Makley LN, Tsonis PA. The other lives of ribosomal proteins. Hum Genomics. 2010 Jun;4(5):327-44. Review. (
  • Dresios J, Panopoulos P, Synetos D. Eukaryotic ribosomal proteins lacking a eubacterial counterpart: important players in ribosomal function. Mol Microbiol. 2006 Mar;59(6):1651-63. Review. (
  • Brodersen DE, Nissen P. The social life of ribosomal proteins. FEBS J. 2005 May;272(9):2098-108. Review. (
  • Wilson DN, Nierhaus KH. Ribosomal proteins in the spotlight. Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2005 Sep-Oct;40(5):243-67. Review. (
  • Perry RP. Balanced production of ribosomal proteins. Gene. 2007 Oct 15;401(1-2):1-3. Epub 2007 Jul 18. Review. (


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: February 2012
Published: February 1, 2016