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The official name of this gene is “ATP-binding cassette, sub-family C (CFTR/MRP), member 8.”
ABCC8 is the gene's official symbol. The ABCC8 gene is also known by other names, listed below.
The ABCC8 gene provides instructions for making the sulfonylurea receptor 1 (SUR1) protein. The SUR1 protein is one part (subunit) of the ATP-sensitive potassium (K-ATP) channel that is found across cell membranes in the beta cells of the pancreas. Beta cells secrete insulin, which is a hormone that helps control blood sugar levels. Insulin controls how much sugar (in the form of glucose) is passed from the bloodstream into cells to be used as energy. The K-ATP channel controls the secretion of insulin out of beta cells and into the bloodstream. These channels open and close in response to the amount of glucose in the bloodstream, which helps regulate insulin secretion and control blood sugar levels. The closing of the channels results in a process that triggers insulin secretion by beta cells.
The ABCC8 gene belongs to a family of genes called ABC (ATP-binding cassette transporters).
A gene family is a group of genes that share important characteristics. Classifying individual genes into families helps researchers describe how genes are related to each other. For more information, see What are gene families? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/howgeneswork/genefamilies) in the Handbook.
More than 300 mutations in the ABCC8 gene have been found to cause congenital hyperinsulinism. This condition causes frequent episodes of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), decreased energy, and irritability. Most of these mutations change single protein building blocks (amino acids) in the SUR1 protein.
Some ABCC8 mutations prevent the SUR1 protein from reaching the cell membrane, interfering with the proper formation of the K-ATP channel. Other mutations interfere with the K-ATP channel's function or its responses to outside molecules. Defective K-ATP channels lead to the constant release of insulin from beta cells. As a result, glucose is rapidly removed from the bloodstream. Without treatment, the hypoglycemia caused by congenital hyperinsulinism may result in serious complications such as intellectual disability and seizures.
At least 14 mutations in the ABCC8 gene have been identified in people with permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus. Individuals with this condition often have a low birth weight and develop increased blood sugar (hyperglycemia) within the first 6 months of life.
ABCC8 gene mutations that cause permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus change single amino acids in the protein sequence. These mutations result in K-ATP channels that do not close, leading to reduced insulin secretion from beta cells and impaired blood sugar control.
Other ABCC8 gene mutations that have a relatively mild effect on K-ATP channel function as compared to that seen in permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus (see above) cause a condition called transient neonatal diabetes mellitus. Infants with this condition have hyperglycemia during the first 6 months of life, but their blood sugar returns to normal by age 18 months. However, affected individuals usually develop hyperglycemia again during adolescence or early adulthood. As in permanent neonatal diabetes mellitus, ABCC8 gene mutations that cause transient neonatal diabetes mellitus interfere with K-ATP channel closure and lead to a reduction in insulin secretion.
Some studies suggest that normal variations (polymorphisms) in the ABCC8 gene are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, the most common form of diabetes. Other studies, however, have not found an association between ABCC8 gene variants and type 2 diabetes mellitus. People with this disease have hyperglycemia because the body does not respond correctly to the insulin secreted from beta cells. Although changes in the ABCC8 gene may be associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus, a combination of lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors all play a part in determining the risk of this complex disorder.
Cytogenetic Location: 11p15.1
Molecular Location on chromosome 11: base pairs 17,392,884 to 17,476,844
The ABCC8 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 11 at position 15.1.
More precisely, the ABCC8 gene is located from base pair 17,392,884 to base pair 17,476,844 on chromosome 11.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/howgeneswork/genelocation) in the Handbook.
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about ABCC8 helpful.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.
See How are genetic conditions and genes named? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/mutationsanddisorders/naming) in the Handbook.
acids ; ATP ; cell ; cell membrane ; channel ; congenital ; diabetes ; diabetes mellitus ; disability ; gene ; glucose ; hormone ; hyperglycemia ; hyperinsulinism ; hypoglycemia ; insulin ; neonatal ; pancreas ; potassium ; protein ; protein sequence ; receptor ; secretion ; subunit ; transient
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary (http://www.ghr.nlm.nih.gov/glossary).
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? (http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/handbook/consult/findingprofessional) in the Handbook.