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ATP8B1 gene

ATPase phospholipid transporting 8B1

Normal Function

The ATP8B1 gene (also known as FIC1) provides instructions for making a protein that is found throughout the body. It is thought to control the distribution of certain fat molecules known as aminophospholipids on the inner surface of liver cell membranes. Based on this role, the ATP8B1 protein is sometimes known as an aminophospholipid translocase. In particular, this protein performs its function in the membranes of liver cells that transport fat-digesting acids called bile acids into bile, and it likely plays a role in maintaining an appropriate balance of bile acids. This process, known as bile acid homeostasis, is critical for the normal secretion of bile and the proper functioning of liver cells.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Benign recurrent intrahepatic cholestasis

Mutations in the ATP8B1 gene can cause benign recurrent intrahepatic cholestasis type 1 (BRIC1). People with BRIC1 have occasional episodes of impaired bile secretion that lead to severe itching (pruritus), and yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes (jaundice). Most ATP8B1 gene mutations that cause BRIC1 change single protein building blocks (amino acids) in the ATP8B1 protein. These mutations likely alter the structure or function of the ATP8B1 protein only moderately. Through unknown mechanisms, mutations in the ATP8B1 gene result in the buildup of bile acids in liver cells, which leads to the signs and symptoms of BRIC1. It is unclear what causes the episodes to begin or end. On occasion, people with BRIC1 have been later diagnosed with a more severe condition called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (described below) when their symptoms worsened.

More About This Health Condition

Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis

More than 50 mutations in the ATP8B1 gene have been found to cause a severe form of liver disease called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 1 (PFIC1). Most mutations in the ATP8B1 gene that cause PFIC1 remove large portions of the gene or lead to an abnormally short protein. These mutations are likely to severely alter the structure or function of the ATP8B1 protein. These mutations cause bile acids to build up in liver cells, damaging these cells and causing liver disease. Although the ATP8B1 protein is found throughout the body, it is unclear how a lack of this protein causes short stature, deafness, diarrhea, and other signs and symptoms of PFIC1.

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • ATPase, aminophospholipid transporter, class I, type 8B, member 1
  • BRIC
  • FIC1
  • PFIC
  • PFIC1

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Cai SY, Gautam S, Nguyen T, Soroka CJ, Rahner C, Boyer JL. ATP8B1 deficiency disrupts the bile canalicular membrane bilayer structure in hepatocytes, but FXR expression and activity are maintained. Gastroenterology. 2009 Mar;136(3):1060-9. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2008.10.025. Epub 2008 Nov 1. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Davit-Spraul A, Gonzales E, Baussan C, Jacquemin E. Progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2009 Jan 8;4:1. doi: 10.1186/1750-1172-4-1. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Folmer DE, van der Mark VA, Ho-Mok KS, Oude Elferink RP, Paulusma CC. Differential effects of progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis type 1 and benign recurrent intrahepatic cholestasis type 1 mutations on canalicular localization of ATP8B1. Hepatology. 2009 Nov;50(5):1597-605. doi: 10.1002/hep.23158. Citation on PubMed
  • Jansen PL, Sturm E. Genetic cholestasis, causes and consequences for hepatobiliary transport. Liver Int. 2003 Oct;23(5):315-22. doi: 10.1034/j.1478-3231.2003.00856.x. Citation on PubMed
  • Klomp LW, Vargas JC, van Mil SW, Pawlikowska L, Strautnieks SS, van Eijk MJ, Juijn JA, Pabon-Pena C, Smith LB, DeYoung JA, Byrne JA, Gombert J, van der Brugge G, Berger R, Jankowska I, Pawlowska J, Villa E, Knisely AS, Thompson RJ, Freimer NB, Houwen RH, Bull LN. Characterization of mutations in ATP8B1 associated with hereditary cholestasis. Hepatology. 2004 Jul;40(1):27-38. doi: 10.1002/hep.20285. Citation on PubMed
  • Pauli-Magnus C, Stieger B, Meier Y, Kullak-Ublick GA, Meier PJ. Enterohepatic transport of bile salts and genetics of cholestasis. J Hepatol. 2005 Aug;43(2):342-57. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2005.03.017. No abstract available. Citation on PubMed
  • Paulusma CC, de Waart DR, Kunne C, Mok KS, Elferink RP. Activity of the bile salt export pump (ABCB11) is critically dependent on canalicular membrane cholesterol content. J Biol Chem. 2009 Apr 10;284(15):9947-54. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M808667200. Epub 2009 Feb 19. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.