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


Reviewed April 2011

What is the official name of the CAV3 gene?

The official name of this gene is “caveolin 3.”

CAV3 is the gene's official symbol. The CAV3 gene is also known by other names, listed below.

What is the normal function of the CAV3 gene?

The CAV3 gene provides instructions for making a protein called caveolin-3, which is found in the membrane surrounding muscle cells. This protein is the main component of caveolae, small pouches in the muscle cell membrane. Within the caveolae, the caveolin-3 protein acts as a scaffold to organize other molecules that are important for cell signaling and maintenance of the cell structure.

How are changes in the CAV3 gene related to health conditions?

limb-girdle muscular dystrophy - caused by mutations in the CAV3 gene

More than 20 mutations in the CAV3 gene have been identified in people with limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1C. Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy is a group of related disorders characterized by muscle weakness and wasting, particularly in the shoulders, hips, and limbs.

CAV3 gene mutations result in a shortage of caveolin-3 protein in the muscle cell membrane and a reduction in the number of caveolae. Researchers suggest that a shortage of caveolae impairs the structural integrity of muscle cells, interferes with cell signaling, and causes the self-destruction of cells (apoptosis). The resulting degeneration of muscle tissue leads to the signs and symptoms of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy.

other disorders - caused by mutations in the CAV3 gene

In addition to limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, CAV3 gene mutations cause four other conditions affecting muscles: isolated hyperCKemia, rippling muscle disease, distal myopathy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Collectively, the five conditions are called caveolinopathies when caused by mutations in the CAV3 gene.

In isolated hyperCKemia, affected individuals have elevated blood levels of an enzyme called creatine kinase. While elevated creatine kinase often accompanies muscle disease, individuals with isolated hyperCKemia have no muscle weakness or other symptoms.

Rippling muscle disease is a condition in which the muscles appear to be unusually sensitive to stimuli (irritable). Affected individuals may experience muscle cramps, stiffness, and muscles that appear to ripple when they move. Rippling muscles may also occur as a feature of limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 1C.

Distal myopathy is a disorder in which weakness and loss of function mainly affect the muscles farthest from the main part of the body (distal muscles), such as those of the hands and feet.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the cardiac muscle that forces the heart to work harder to pump blood. This condition is often associated with an abnormal heartbeat (arrhythmia) and can lead to heart failure and sudden death.

Any of the five caveolinopathies may be caused by a particular CAV3 gene mutation. It is unclear why a particular CAV3 gene mutation may cause different patterns of signs and symptoms, even within the same family.

Mutations in the CAV3 gene have also been identified in people with long QT syndrome, which is a heart condition that causes the heart (cardiac) muscle to take longer than usual to recharge between beats. The irregular heartbeats can lead to fainting (syncope) or cardiac arrest and sudden death. Researchers suggest that CAV3 gene mutations may affect the function of sodium channels located in the caveolae. These channels, which transport positively charged sodium atoms (sodium ions) into cells, play a key role in a cell's ability to generate and transmit electrical signals. In cardiac muscle, ion channels play critical roles in maintaining the heart's normal rhythm. A disruption in ion transport may alter the way the heart beats, leading to the abnormal heart rhythm characteristic of long QT syndrome. Long QT syndrome is not associated with skeletal muscle weakness.

Where is the CAV3 gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 3p25

Molecular Location on chromosome 3: base pairs 8,733,799 to 8,746,764

The CAV3 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 3 at position 25.

The CAV3 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 3 at position 25.

More precisely, the CAV3 gene is located from base pair 8,733,799 to base pair 8,746,764 on chromosome 3.

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

Where can I find additional information about CAV3?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about CAV3 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 CAV3 gene or gene products?

  • caveolin-3
  • LGMD1C
  • LQT9
  • M-caveolin
  • MGC126100
  • MGC126101
  • MGC126129
  • VIP21
  • VIP-21

See How are genetic conditions and genes named? ( in the Handbook.

What glossary definitions help with understanding CAV3?

apoptosis ; arrhythmia ; cardiac ; cardiac arrest ; cardiomyopathy ; cell ; cell membrane ; creatine ; creatine kinase ; distal ; enzyme ; fainting ; gene ; heart failure ; hypertrophic ; ions ; ion transport ; kinase ; long QT syndrome ; muscular dystrophy ; mutation ; protein ; skeletal muscle ; sodium ; syncope ; syndrome ; tissue ; wasting

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


  • Aboumousa A, Hoogendijk J, Charlton R, Barresi R, Herrmann R, Voit T, Hudson J, Roberts M, Hilton-Jones D, Eagle M, Bushby K, Straub V. Caveolinopathy--new mutations and additional symptoms. Neuromuscul Disord. 2008 Jul;18(7):572-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2008.05.003. Epub 2008 Jun 25. (
  • Balijepalli RC, Kamp TJ. Caveolae, ion channels and cardiac arrhythmias. Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2008 Oct-Nov;98(2-3):149-60. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2009.01.012. Epub 2009 Jan 30. Review. (
  • Catteruccia M, Sanna T, Santorelli FM, Tessa A, Di Giacopo R, Sauchelli D, Verbo A, Lo Monaco M, Servidei S. Rippling muscle disease and cardiomyopathy associated with a mutation in the CAV3 gene. Neuromuscul Disord. 2009 Nov;19(11):779-83. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2009.08.015. Epub 2009 Sep 20. (
  • Gazzerro E, Sotgia F, Bruno C, Lisanti MP, Minetti C. Caveolinopathies: from the biology of caveolin-3 to human diseases. Eur J Hum Genet. 2010 Feb;18(2):137-45. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2009.103. Epub 2009 Jul 8. Review. Erratum in: Eur J Hum Genet. 2009 Dec;17(12):1692. (
  • NCBI Gene (
  • Vatta M, Ackerman MJ, Ye B, Makielski JC, Ughanze EE, Taylor EW, Tester DJ, Balijepalli RC, Foell JD, Li Z, Kamp TJ, Towbin JA. Mutant caveolin-3 induces persistent late sodium current and is associated with long-QT syndrome. Circulation. 2006 Nov 14;114(20):2104-12. Epub 2006 Oct 23. (


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: April 21, 2014