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Reviewed April 2013

What is the official name of the CDKN1C gene?

The official name of this gene is “cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1C (p57, Kip2).”

CDKN1C is the gene's official symbol. The CDKN1C 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 CDKN1C gene?

The CDKN1C gene provides instructions for making a protein that helps regulate growth. This protein acts as a tumor suppressor, which means that it keeps cells from growing and dividing too fast or in an uncontrolled way. It also is involved in controlling growth before birth, preventing the developing fetus from becoming too large.

People generally inherit one copy of a gene from their mother and one copy from their father. For most genes, both copies are fully turned on (active) in cells. The CDKN1C gene, however, is most active when it is inherited from a person's mother. The copy of CDKN1C inherited from a person's father is active at much lower levels in most tissues. This sort of parent-specific difference in gene activation is caused by a phenomenon called genomic imprinting. When genomic imprinting reduces the activity of the copy of a gene inherited from the father, that gene is said to be paternally imprinted.

CDKN1C is part of a cluster of genes on the short (p) arm of chromosome 11 that undergo genomic imprinting. A nearby region of DNA known as imprinting center 2 (ICR2) or KvDMR controls the parent-specific genomic imprinting of CDKN1C and several other genes thought to help regulate growth.

How are changes in the CDKN1C gene related to health conditions?

Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome - caused by mutations in the CDKN1C gene

Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome is a condition that causes overgrowth, increases the risk of tumors, and has other signs and symptoms that affect many parts of the body. At least half of all cases of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome result from changes in a process called methylation that affects the ICR2 region. In genes that undergo genomic imprinting, the parent of origin is often marked, or "stamped," on the gene during the formation of an egg or sperm cell. This stamping process, called methylation, is a chemical reaction that attaches small molecules called methyl groups to certain segments of DNA. The ICR2 region is normally methylated on the maternally inherited copy of chromosome 11.

In many people with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, the ICR2 region has too few methyl groups attached (hypomethylation). This abnormality disrupts the regulation of several genes that are normally controlled by ICR2. Specifically, hypomethylation of the ICR2 region greatly reduces the activity of the CDKN1C gene. Because this gene normally restrains growth, a loss of its activity leads to the features of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, including overgrowth and an increased risk of tumors.

In a few cases, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome has been caused by deletions of a small amount of DNA from the ICR2 region. Like abnormal methylation, these deletions disrupt the activity of several genes, including CDKN1C.

Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome can also result from mutations within the CDKN1C gene itself. Because this gene is paternally imprinted, Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome results when the mutation is present on the maternally inherited copy of the gene. More than two dozen such mutations have been identified. Some of these genetic changes lead to an abnormally short, nonfunctional version of the CDKN1C protein, while others alter single protein building blocks (amino acids) or delete a small number of amino acids from the protein. All of these mutations are described as "loss-of-function" because they alter the structure of the CDKN1C protein such that it can no longer control cell growth and division effectively. The resulting problems with growth regulation lead to overgrowth and the other features of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome.

intrauterine growth restriction, metaphyseal dysplasia, adrenal hypoplasia congenita, and genital anomalies - caused by mutations in the CDKN1C gene

Intrauterine growth restriction, metaphyseal dysplasia, adrenal hypoplasia congenita, and genital anomalies, commonly known by the acronym IMAGe, is a rare syndrome that affects the growth of many parts of the body. At least five mutations in the CDKN1C gene have been found to cause this condition. Because this gene is paternally imprinted, IMAGe syndrome results only when the mutation is present on the maternally inherited copy of the gene.

The CDKN1C gene mutations that cause IMAGe syndrome replace single amino acids in a region known as the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-binding domain near the end of the gene. Researchers believe that these genetic changes alter the structure and function of the CDKN1C protein in a way that impairs normal growth starting before birth. Because these mutations are thought to enhance the gene's usual function of restraining excess growth, they are described as "gain-of-function." However, it is unclear how the mutations lead to the specific features of IMAGe syndrome.

Where is the CDKN1C gene located?

Cytogenetic Location: 11p15.5

Molecular Location on chromosome 11: base pairs 2,883,217 to 2,885,815

The CDKN1C gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 11 at position 15.5.

The CDKN1C gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 11 at position 15.5.

More precisely, the CDKN1C gene is located from base pair 2,883,217 to base pair 2,885,815 on chromosome 11.

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

Where can I find additional information about CDKN1C?

You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about CDKN1C 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 CDKN1C gene or gene products?

  • BWCR
  • BWS
  • cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1C
  • Cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p57
  • KIP2
  • p57
  • p57KIP2
  • WBS

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 CDKN1C?

acids ; cell ; chromosome ; DNA ; domain ; dysplasia ; egg ; epigenetic ; fetus ; gene ; hypoplasia ; imprinting ; inherit ; inherited ; kinase ; methyl ; methylation ; mutation ; proliferating ; protein ; sperm ; syndrome ; tumor

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

See also Understanding Medical Terminology.

References (9 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.

Reviewed: April 2013
Published: May 18, 2015