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GFM1 gene

G elongation factor mitochondrial 1

Normal Function

The GFM1 gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called mitochondrial translation elongation factor G1. This enzyme is found in cell structures called mitochondria, which are the energy-producing centers within cells. While instructions for making most of the body's proteins are found in DNA that is stored in the nucleus of cells (nuclear DNA), a few proteins and other molecules are produced from DNA that is stored in mitochondria (mtDNA). Mitochondrial translation elongation factor G1 is involved in the production of proteins from mtDNA through a process called translation. The mtDNA genes provide instructions for products that are involved in protein production and the process of turning energy taken in from food into a form that cells can use (oxidative phosphorylation).

During translation, mtRNA molecules, which are the protein blueprints created from mtDNA, interact with specialized complexes called ribosomes to assemble protein building blocks (amino acids) into a fully formed protein. The role of mitochondrial translation elongation factor G1 is to coordinate the movements of mtRNA molecules with ribosomes to allow assembly of the protein to continue until it is complete.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Combined oxidative phosphorylation deficiency 1

At least 18 mutations in the GFM1 gene have been found to cause combined oxidative phosphorylation deficiency 1. This condition causes severe neurologic and liver dysfunction. Affected individuals usually do not survive past early childhood. Most of the GFM1 gene mutations change single amino acids in the mitochondrial translation elongation factor G1 enzyme. Such alterations reduce or eliminate the enzyme's function. As a result, fewer mitochondrial proteins involved in oxidative phosphorylation are produced. Organs that have high energy demands, such as the brain and liver, are particularly affected by the resulting impairment of oxidative phosphorylation. A shortage of energy in these tissues leads to cell death, causing the neurological and liver problems in people with combined oxidative phosphorylation deficiency 1. It is thought that other tissues that require a lot of energy, such as the heart and other muscles, are not affected in this condition because they have additional enzymes that can perform the process of mitochondrial protein production.

More About This Health Condition

Leigh syndrome

MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about Leigh syndrome

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • EFG
  • EFG1
  • EFGM
  • EGF1
  • G translation elongation factor, mitochondrial
  • GFM
  • hEFG1
  • mitochondrial elongation factor G
  • mitochondrial elongation factor G1

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


  • Antonicka H, Sasarman F, Kennaway NG, Shoubridge EA. The molecular basis for tissue specificity of the oxidative phosphorylation deficiencies in patients with mutations in the mitochondrial translation factor EFG1. Hum Mol Genet. 2006 Jun 1;15(11):1835-46. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddl106. Epub 2006 Apr 21. Citation on PubMed
  • Balasubramaniam S, Choy YS, Talib A, Norsiah MD, van den Heuvel LP, Rodenburg RJ. Infantile Progressive Hepatoencephalomyopathy with Combined OXPHOS Deficiency due to Mutations in the Mitochondrial Translation Elongation Factor Gene GFM1. JIMD Rep. 2012;5:113-22. doi: 10.1007/8904_2011_107. Epub 2011 Dec 21. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Coenen MJ, Antonicka H, Ugalde C, Sasarman F, Rossi R, Heister JG, Newbold RF, Trijbels FJ, van den Heuvel LP, Shoubridge EA, Smeitink JA. Mutant mitochondrial elongation factor G1 and combined oxidative phosphorylation deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2004 Nov 11;351(20):2080-6. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa041878. Citation on PubMed
  • Ravn K, Schonewolf-Greulich B, Hansen RM, Bohr AH, Duno M, Wibrand F, Ostergaard E. Neonatal mitochondrial hepatoencephalopathy caused by novel GFM1 mutations. Mol Genet Metab Rep. 2015 Feb 20;3:5-10. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgmr.2015.01.004. eCollection 2015 Jun. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central

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