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IGHMBP2 gene

immunoglobulin mu DNA binding protein 2

Normal Function

The IGHMBP2 gene provides instructions for making an enzyme called immunoglobulin mu DNA binding protein 2 (IGHMBP2). This enzyme functions as a helicase, which means that it attaches to particular regions of DNA and temporarily unwinds the two spiral strands of these molecules. When a cell prepares to divide to form two cells, the chromosomes are duplicated (replicated) so that each new cell will get a complete set of chromosomes. The replication process involves unwinding the DNA so that it can be copied. This mechanism is also involved in the production of RNA, a chemical cousin of DNA. Additionally, the IGHMBP2 protein is thought to be involved in the production of proteins from RNA through a process called translation. The IGHMBP2 protein is produced in cells throughout the body.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress type 1

More than 60 mutations in the IGHMBP2 gene have been found to cause spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress type 1 (SMARD1). SMARD1 is an inherited condition that causes muscle weakness and respiratory failure typically beginning in infancy. Most mutations that cause this condition change single protein building blocks (amino acids) in the IGHMBP2 protein and disrupt the protein's ability to unwind DNA and RNA. The loss of helicase function impedes DNA replication and the production of RNA and proteins. These problems particularly affect alpha-motor neurons, which are specialized cells in the brainstem and spinal cord that control muscle movements. Altered IGHMBP2 proteins cause these neurons to become damaged and die over time, although the exact mechanism is unknown. The cumulative death of alpha-motor neurons leads to breathing problems and progressive muscle weakness in children with SMARD1.

More About This Health Condition

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • cardiac transcription factor 1
  • CATF1
  • FLJ34220
  • FLJ41171
  • HCSA
  • HMN6
  • immunoglobulin mu binding protein 2
  • SMARD1
  • SMUBP2

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


  • de Planell-Saguer M, Schroeder DG, Rodicio MC, Cox GA, Mourelatos Z. Biochemical and genetic evidence for a role of IGHMBP2 in the translational machinery. Hum Mol Genet. 2009 Jun 15;18(12):2115-26. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddp134. Epub 2009 Mar 19. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Guenther UP, Handoko L, Laggerbauer B, Jablonka S, Chari A, Alzheimer M, Ohmer J, Plottner O, Gehring N, Sickmann A, von Au K, Schuelke M, Fischer U. IGHMBP2 is a ribosome-associated helicase inactive in the neuromuscular disorder distal SMA type 1 (DSMA1). Hum Mol Genet. 2009 Apr 1;18(7):1288-300. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddp028. Epub 2009 Jan 20. Citation on PubMed
  • Guenther UP, Handoko L, Varon R, Stephani U, Tsao CY, Mendell JR, Lutzkendorf S, Hubner C, von Au K, Jablonka S, Dittmar G, Heinemann U, Schuetz A, Schuelke M. Clinical variability in distal spinal muscular atrophy type 1 (DSMA1): determination of steady-state IGHMBP2 protein levels in five patients with infantile and juvenile disease. J Mol Med (Berl). 2009 Jan;87(1):31-41. doi: 10.1007/s00109-008-0402-7. Epub 2008 Sep 18. Citation on PubMed
  • Guenther UP, Varon R, Schlicke M, Dutrannoy V, Volk A, Hubner C, von Au K, Schuelke M. Clinical and mutational profile in spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress (SMARD): defining novel phenotypes through hierarchical cluster analysis. Hum Mutat. 2007 Aug;28(8):808-15. doi: 10.1002/humu.20525. Citation on PubMed
  • Kaindl AM, Guenther UP, Rudnik-Schoneborn S, Varon R, Zerres K, Schuelke M, Hubner C, von Au K. Spinal muscular atrophy with respiratory distress type 1 (SMARD1). J Child Neurol. 2008 Feb;23(2):199-204. doi: 10.1177/0883073807310989. Citation on PubMed

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