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

TRIM gene family

Reviewed April 2011

What are the TRIM genes?

Genes in the TRIM family provide instructions for making proteins that are involved in a variety of cellular functions. The majority of these genes play a role in the cell machinery that breaks down (degrades) unwanted proteins. Damaged, misfolded, and excess proteins are tagged with molecules called ubiquitin. Ubiquitin serves as a signal to move unwanted proteins into specialized cell structures known as proteasomes, where the ubiquitin-tagged proteins are degraded. The TRIM family's protein-degrading function is important for normal cell growth and division (cell proliferation), self-destruction of cells (apoptosis), cell maturity and specialization (differentiation), formation of tumors (oncogenesis), and immune functions. TRIM gene products are active throughout the body from embryonic development to adulthood.

The TRIM genes are also related through their structure. All TRIM genes provide instructions for making proteins that have three specific regions (motifs) in common. These regions are known as RING finger, B-box, and coiled coil motifs. The presence of these three regions gives the TRIM gene family its name, tripartite motif-containing. The three motifs work together to bind (attach) to unwanted proteins and tag them with ubiquitin.

Most of the TRIM genes are named numerically (such as TRIM10 and TRIM67). A few tripartite motif-containing genes that have known disease-causing mutations are named after the condition they cause (for example, mutations in the MEFV gene cause familial Mediterranean fever). Genes in the TRIM family can be found on most human chromosomes.

Which genes are included in the TRIM 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 TRIM gene family: MEFV, MID1, and PML.

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

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

  • acute promyelocytic leukemia
  • familial Mediterranean fever
  • Opitz G/BBB syndrome

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

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

  • Biochemistry (fifth edition, 2001): Ubiquitin Tags Proteins for Destruction ( (U.S. National Library of Medicine)

What glossary definitions help with understanding the TRIM gene family?

apoptosis ; cell ; cell proliferation ; differentiation ; embryonic ; familial ; fever ; gene ; leukemia ; ligase ; motif ; proliferation ; protein ; ubiquitin

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 TRIM gene family.

  • Short KM, Cox TC. Subclassification of the RBCC/TRIM superfamily reveals a novel motif necessary for microtubule binding. J Biol Chem. 2006 Mar 31;281(13):8970-80. Epub 2006 Jan 23. (
  • Meroni G, Diez-Roux G. TRIM/RBCC, a novel class of 'single protein RING finger' E3 ubiquitin ligases. Bioessays. 2005 Nov;27(11):1147-57. Review. (
  • Reymond A, Meroni G, Fantozzi A, Merla G, Cairo S, Luzi L, Riganelli D, Zanaria E, Messali S, Cainarca S, Guffanti A, Minucci S, Pelicci PG, Ballabio A. The tripartite motif family identifies cell compartments. EMBO J. 2001 May 1;20(9):2140-51. (
  • Nisole S, Stoye JP, Saïb A. TRIM family proteins: retroviral restriction and antiviral defence. Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Oct;3(10):799-808. Review. (
  • Freemont PS. RING for destruction? Curr Biol. 2000 Jan 27;10(2):R84-7. Review. (
  • James LC, Keeble AH, Khan Z, Rhodes DA, Trowsdale J. Structural basis for PRYSPRY-mediated tripartite motif (TRIM) protein function. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Apr 10;104(15):6200-5. Epub 2007 Mar 30. (


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: April 2011
Published: February 1, 2016