The ATN1 gene provides instructions for making a protein called atrophin 1. Although the exact function of this protein is unknown, it appears to play an important role in nerve cells (neurons) in many areas of the brain. Based on studies in other animals, researchers speculate that atrophin 1 may act as a transcriptional co-repressor. A transcriptional co-repressor is a protein that interacts with other DNA-binding proteins to suppress the activity of certain genes, although it cannot attach (bind) to DNA by itself.
One region of the ATN1 gene contains a particular DNA segment known as a CAG trinucleotide repeat. This segment is made up of a series of three DNA building blocks (cytosine, adenine, and guanine) that appear multiple times in a row. In most people, the number of CAG repeats in the ATN1 gene ranges from 6 to 35.
Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes
Dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) results from an increased number of copies (expansion) of the CAG trinucleotide repeat in the ATN1 gene. In people with this condition, the CAG segment is abnormally repeated at least 48 times, and the repeat region may be two or three times its usual length. Although the extended CAG region changes the structure of atrophin 1, it is unclear how the altered protein damages brain cells. Researchers believe that abnormal atrophin 1 accumulates in neurons and interferes with normal cell functions. The dysfunction and eventual death of neurons in many parts of the brain lead to involuntary movements, intellectual decline, and the other characteristic features of DRPLA.More About This Health Condition
Other Names for This Gene
- dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy protein
Additional Information & Resources
Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry
Scientific Articles on PubMed
Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM
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- Nagafuchi S, Yanagisawa H, Ohsaki E, Shirayama T, Tadokoro K, Inoue T, Yamada M. Structure and expression of the gene responsible for the triplet repeat disorder, dentatorubral and pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA). Nat Genet. 1994 Oct;8(2):177-82. Citation on PubMed
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- Tsuji S. Dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy: clinical aspects and molecular genetics. Adv Neurol. 2002;89:231-9. Review. Citation on PubMed
- Wood JD, Nucifora FC Jr, Duan K, Zhang C, Wang J, Kim Y, Schilling G, Sacchi N, Liu JM, Ross CA. Atrophin-1, the dentato-rubral and pallido-luysian atrophy gene product, interacts with ETO/MTG8 in the nuclear matrix and represses transcription. J Cell Biol. 2000 Sep 4;150(5):939-48. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
- Yamada M, Wood JD, Shimohata T, Hayashi S, Tsuji S, Ross CA, Takahashi H. Widespread occurrence of intranuclear atrophin-1 accumulation in the central nervous system neurons of patients with dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy. Ann Neurol. 2001 Jan;49(1):14-23. Citation on PubMed