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CAVIN1 gene

caveolae associated protein 1

Normal Function

The CAVIN1 gene provides instructions for making a protein called cavin-1. This protein is found in cells and tissues throughout the body. It is most abundant in several types of cells: osteoblasts, which are cells that build bones; muscle cells; and adipocytes, which are cells that store fats for energy. Adipocytes make up most of the body's fatty (adipose) tissue.

Studies suggest that cavin-1 plays an essential role in forming and stabilizing caveolae, which are small pouches in the membrane that surrounds cells. Caveolae have multiple functions, some of which are not well understood. They are known to be involved in the transport of molecules from the cell membrane to the interior of the cell (endocytosis), processing of molecules on their way into the cell, maintaining the cell structure, and regulating chemical signaling pathways. Caveolae are particularly numerous in adipocytes, where they appear to be essential for the normal transport, processing, and storage of fats.

Within cells, cavin-1 is also found in the nucleus and in the fluid that surrounds the nucleus (the cytoplasm). In addition to its role in caveolae, studies suggest that this protein is involved in repairing damage to the outer cell membrane, cell growth and division (proliferation), cell movement, stopping cell division in older cells (senescence), and regulating various chemical signaling pathways. The functions of cavin-1 likely differ depending on the type of cell and the part of the cell where the protein is found.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Congenital generalized lipodystrophy

More than 10 mutations in the CAVIN1 gene have been found to cause congenital generalized lipodystrophy (also called Berardinelli-Seip congenital lipodystrophy) type 4. This rare condition is characterized by an almost total absence of adipose tissue and a very muscular appearance. A shortage of adipose tissue leads to multiple health problems, including high levels of fats called triglycerides circulating in the bloodstream (hypertriglyceridemia) and diabetes mellitus. Additional features of congenital generalized lipodystrophy type 4 include muscle weakness, delayed development, joint abnormalities, a narrowing of the lower part of the stomach (pyloric stenosis), and severe abnormalities of the heart rhythm (arrhythmias) that can lead to sudden death.

All of the identified CAVIN1 gene mutations prevent cells from producing any functional cavin-1. A lack of this protein probably impairs the formation of caveolae. Researchers suspect that a shortage of these important structures on the cell membrane disrupts many cell functions. However, it is unknown specifically how the absence of cavin-1 leads to a loss of body fat and the other health problems associated with congenital generalized lipodystrophy type 4.

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • cavin-1
  • CGL4
  • FKSG13
  • polymerase I and transcript release factor
  • PTRF
  • RNA polymerase I and transcript release factor
  • TTF-I interacting peptide 12

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


  • Hayashi YK, Matsuda C, Ogawa M, Goto K, Tominaga K, Mitsuhashi S, Park YE, Nonaka I, Hino-Fukuyo N, Haginoya K, Sugano H, Nishino I. Human PTRF mutations cause secondary deficiency of caveolins resulting in muscular dystrophy with generalized lipodystrophy. J Clin Invest. 2009 Sep;119(9):2623-33. doi: 10.1172/JCI38660. Epub 2009 Aug 10. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Hill MM, Bastiani M, Luetterforst R, Kirkham M, Kirkham A, Nixon SJ, Walser P, Abankwa D, Oorschot VM, Martin S, Hancock JF, Parton RG. PTRF-Cavin, a conserved cytoplasmic protein required for caveola formation and function. Cell. 2008 Jan 11;132(1):113-24. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.11.042. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Liu L, Pilch PF. A critical role of cavin (polymerase I and transcript release factor) in caveolae formation and organization. J Biol Chem. 2008 Feb 15;283(7):4314-22. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M707890200. Epub 2007 Dec 3. Citation on PubMed
  • Low JY, Nicholson HD. Emerging role of polymerase-1 and transcript release factor (PTRF/ Cavin-1) in health and disease. Cell Tissue Res. 2014 Sep;357(3):505-13. doi: 10.1007/s00441-014-1964-z. Epub 2014 Aug 9. Citation on PubMed
  • Rajab A, Straub V, McCann LJ, Seelow D, Varon R, Barresi R, Schulze A, Lucke B, Lutzkendorf S, Karbasiyan M, Bachmann S, Spuler S, Schuelke M. Fatal cardiac arrhythmia and long-QT syndrome in a new form of congenital generalized lipodystrophy with muscle rippling (CGL4) due to PTRF-CAVIN mutations. PLoS Genet. 2010 Mar 12;6(3):e1000874. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000874. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Shastry S, Delgado MR, Dirik E, Turkmen M, Agarwal AK, Garg A. Congenital generalized lipodystrophy, type 4 (CGL4) associated with myopathy due to novel PTRF mutations. Am J Med Genet A. 2010 Sep;152A(9):2245-53. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.a.33578. 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.