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CAV3 gene

caveolin 3

Normal Function

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, which are 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. These molecules include the proteins that make up sodium channels, which transport positively charged sodium atoms (sodium ions) into cells. Sodium channels play a key role in a cell's ability to generate and transmit electrical signals. In cardiac muscle, sodium channels are involved in maintaining the heart's normal rhythm. Caveolin-3 may also help regulate calcium levels in the muscle cell, which control muscle contraction and relaxation.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

CAV3-related distal myopathy

At least two CAV3 gene mutations have been identified in people with distal myopathy, a disorder characterized by weakness and loss of function mainly affecting the muscles farthest from the center of the body (distal muscles), such as those of the hands and feet. Mutations that cause CAV3-related distal myopathy 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 breakdown of muscle tissue leads to the signs and symptoms of CAV3-related distal myopathy.

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Isolated hyperCKemia

At least four CAV3 gene mutations have been identified in individuals with isolated hyperCKemia. People with this condition have elevated levels of an enzyme called creatine kinase in the blood. Creatine kinase is released into the blood when muscle cells are damaged; however, people with isolated hyperCKemia have no muscle weakness or other symptoms of muscle disease. CAV3 gene mutations that cause isolated hyperCKemia lead to a caveolin-3 shortage that likely damages muscle cells. Although the damage is not severe enough to cause noticeable symptoms, it may lead to the elevated blood levels of creatine kinase that characterize isolated hyperCKemia.

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Rippling muscle disease

At least 12 CAV3 gene mutations have been identified in people with rippling muscle disease, a condition in which the muscles are unusually sensitive to movement or pressure (irritable). Affected individuals may have muscle cramps, stiffness, and muscles that appear to ripple when they are stretched.

CAV3 gene mutations that cause rippling muscle disease result in a shortage of caveolin-3 protein in the muscle cell membrane. Researchers suggest that reduced caveolin-3 levels may impair the control of calcium levels in muscle cells, leading to abnormal muscle contractions in response to stimulation.

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Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy

MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy

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Romano-Ward syndrome

MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about Romano-Ward syndrome

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Other disorders

CAV3 gene mutations also can cause hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a thickening of the heart (cardiac) muscle that forces the heart to work harder to pump blood. This condition can lead to heart failure.

When caused by CAV3 gene mutations, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as well as limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, isolated hyperCKemia, rippling muscle disease, and distal myopathy (all described above) are classified as caveolinopathies. Several CAV3 gene mutations have been found to cause different caveolinopathies in different individuals. 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 cardiac muscle to take longer than usual to recharge between beats. The irregular heartbeats (arrhythmia) can lead to fainting (syncope) or cardiac arrest and sudden death. Researchers suggest that CAV3 gene mutations may disrupt ion transport through sodium channels located in the caveolae. A disruption in ion transport may alter the way the heart beats, leading to the abnormal heart rhythm characteristic of long QT syndrome.

Other Names for This Gene

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

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


  • 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. Citation on PubMed
  • Alias L, Gallano P, Moreno D, Pujol R, Martinez-Matos JA, Baiget M, Ferrer I, Olive M. A novel mutation in the caveolin-3 gene causing familial isolated hyperCKaemia. Neuromuscul Disord. 2004 May;14(5):321-4. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2004.01.006. Citation on PubMed
  • 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. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • 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. Citation on PubMed
  • Gazzerro E, Bonetto A, Minetti C. Caveolinopathies: translational implications of caveolin-3 in skeletal and cardiac muscle disorders. Handb Clin Neurol. 2011;101:135-42. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-08-045031-5.00010-4. Citation on PubMed
  • 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. Erratum In: Eur J Hum Genet. 2009 Dec;17(12):1692. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Tateyama M, Aoki M, Nishino I, Hayashi YK, Sekiguchi S, Shiga Y, Takahashi T, Onodera Y, Haginoya K, Kobayashi K, Iinuma K, Nonaka I, Arahata K, Itoyama Y. Mutation in the caveolin-3 gene causes a peculiar form of distal myopathy. Neurology. 2002 Jan 22;58(2):323-5. doi: 10.1212/wnl.58.2.323. Erratum In: Neurology 2002 Mar 12;58(5):839. Itoyoma Y [corrected to Itoyama Y]. Citation on PubMed
  • Traverso M, Bruno C, Broccolini A, Sotgia F, Donati MA, Assereto S, Gazzerro E, Lo Monaco M, Modoni A, D'Amico A, Gasperini S, Ricci E, Zara F, Lisanti M, Minetti C. Truncation of Caveolin-3 causes autosomal-recessive Rippling Muscle Disease. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2008 Jun;79(6):735-7. doi: 10.1136/jnnp.2007.133207. No abstract available. Citation on PubMed
  • Ullrich ND, Fischer D, Kornblum C, Walter MC, Niggli E, Zorzato F, Treves S. Alterations of excitation-contraction coupling and excitation coupled Ca(2+) entry in human myotubes carrying CAV3 mutations linked to rippling muscle. Hum Mutat. 2011 Mar;32(3):309-17. doi: 10.1002/humu.21431. Epub 2011 Feb 3. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • 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. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.106.635268. Epub 2006 Oct 23. Citation on PubMed

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