The KCNB1 gene belongs to a large family of genes that provide instructions for making potassium channels. These channels, which transport positively charged atoms (ions) of potassium in and out of cells, play a key role in a cell's ability to generate and transmit electrical signals.
The KCNB1 gene provides instructions for making one part of a potassium channel called Kv2.1. These channels are found primarily in nerve cells (neurons) in the brain where they transport potassium ions out of neurons. The flow of ions through potassium channels in neurons plays a role in regulating the activity of neurons and sending electrical signals in the brain, allowing communication between these cells.
Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes
More than 45 mutations in the KCNB1 gene have been found to cause a condition called KCNB1 encephalopathy. This condition is characterized by abnormal brain function (encephalopathy), recurrent seizures (epilepsy), and developmental delay.
Most KCNB1 gene mutations change single protein building blocks (amino acids), altering the proteins. Other mutations introduce a premature stop signal in the instructions for making the protein, resulting in production of a shortened, nonfunctional protein. All KCNB1 gene mutations impair Kv2.1 channel function. Channels made with the abnormal proteins are unable to function, which reduces Kv2.1 channel function in the brain. As a result, the channels cannot regulate the flow of potassium ions in neurons, which disrupts normal communication between these cells. Impaired channel function disrupts normal brain development and leads to seizures, intellectual disability, and other features of encephalopathy that occur in this condition.More About This Health Condition
Other Names for This Gene
- potassium channel, voltage-gated, shab-related subfamily, member 1
Additional Information & Resources
Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry
Scientific Articles on PubMed
Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM
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