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PLA2G6 gene

phospholipase A2 group VI

Normal Function

The PLA2G6 gene provides instructions for making a type of enzyme called an A2 phospholipase. This type of enzyme is involved in breaking down (metabolizing) fats called phospholipids. Phospholipid metabolism is important for many body processes, including helping to maintain the integrity of the cell membrane. Specifically, the A2 phospholipase produced from the PLA2G6 gene, sometimes called PLA2 group VI, helps to regulate the levels of a compound called phosphatidylcholine, which is abundant in the cell membrane.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy

At least 50 mutations in the PLA2G6 gene have been identified in people with infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy, a progressive neurological disorder that causes intellectual disability and movement problems. Mutations in the PLA2G6 gene eliminate or severely impair the function of the PLA2 group VI enzyme. Impairment of PLA2 group VI enzyme function may disrupt cell membrane maintenance and contribute to the development of swellings called spheroid bodies in the axons, which are fibers that extend from nerve cells (neurons) and transmit impulses to muscles and other neurons. Although it is unknown how changes in this enzyme's function lead to the signs and symptoms of infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy, phospholipid metabolism problems have been seen in both this disorder and a similar disorder called pantothenate kinase-associated neurodegeneration. These disorders, as well as the more common Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, also are associated with changes in brain iron metabolism. Researchers are studying the links between phospholipid defects, brain iron, and damage to nerve cells, but have not determined how the iron accumulation that occurs in some individuals with infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy may contribute to the features of this disorder.

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Other disorders

PLA2G6 gene mutations can also cause atypical neuroaxonal dystrophy and PLA2G6-related dystonia-parkinsonism, which are conditions in which deterioration of neurological function (neurodegeneration) occurs later in life. The term PLA2G6-associated neurodegeneration (PLAN) is often used to include the entire spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders caused by mutations in PLA2G6.

Atypical neuroaxonal dystrophy (atypical NAD) is a disorder with signs and symptoms that are similar to those of infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy (described above) but that occur later and progress more slowly. Atypical NAD usually appears in early childhood but in some cases is not evident until the teenage years.

PLA2G6-related dystonia-parkinsonism is also caused by PLA2G6 gene mutations and involves movement abnormalities that occur in adulthood. Dystonia is involuntary tensing of the muscles, and parkinsonism comprises a group of movement problems including unusually slow movement (bradykinesia), muscle rigidity, tremors, and an inability to hold the body upright and balanced (postural instability).

Both of these later-onset conditions are caused by PLA2G6 gene mutations that are believed to have a less severe effect on PLA2 group VI enzyme function than the mutations that cause infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy.

Other Names for This Gene

  • CaI-PLA2
  • calcium-independent phospholipase A2
  • cytosolic, calcium-independent phospholipase A2
  • GVI
  • INAD1
  • iPLA2
  • iPLA2beta
  • NBIA2
  • OTTHUMP00000028877
  • PARK14
  • patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 9
  • phospholipase A2, group VI
  • phospholipase A2, group VI (cytosolic, calcium-independent)
  • PLA2
  • PNPLA9

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


  • Engel LA, Jing Z, O'Brien DE, Sun M, Kotzbauer PT. Catalytic function of PLA2G6 is impaired by mutations associated with infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy but not dystonia-parkinsonism. PLoS One. 2010 Sep 23;5(9):e12897. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012897. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Hayflick SJ. Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation: from genes to pathogenesis. Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2006 Sep;13(3):182-5. doi: 10.1016/j.spen.2006.08.007. Citation on PubMed
  • Khateeb S, Flusser H, Ofir R, Shelef I, Narkis G, Vardi G, Shorer Z, Levy R, Galil A, Elbedour K, Birk OS. PLA2G6 mutation underlies infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy. Am J Hum Genet. 2006 Nov;79(5):942-8. doi: 10.1086/508572. Epub 2006 Sep 19. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Kurian MA, Morgan NV, MacPherson L, Foster K, Peake D, Gupta R, Philip SG, Hendriksz C, Morton JE, Kingston HM, Rosser EM, Wassmer E, Gissen P, Maher ER. Phenotypic spectrum of neurodegeneration associated with mutations in the PLA2G6 gene (PLAN). Neurology. 2008 Apr 29;70(18):1623-9. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000310986.48286.8e. Citation on PubMed
  • McNeill A, Chinnery PF. Neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation. Handb Clin Neurol. 2011;100:161-72. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-52014-2.00009-4. Citation on PubMed
  • Morgan NV, Westaway SK, Morton JE, Gregory A, Gissen P, Sonek S, Cangul H, Coryell J, Canham N, Nardocci N, Zorzi G, Pasha S, Rodriguez D, Desguerre I, Mubaidin A, Bertini E, Trembath RC, Simonati A, Schanen C, Johnson CA, Levinson B, Woods CG, Wilmot B, Kramer P, Gitschier J, Maher ER, Hayflick SJ. PLA2G6, encoding a phospholipase A2, is mutated in neurodegenerative disorders with high brain iron. Nat Genet. 2006 Jul;38(7):752-4. doi: 10.1038/ng1826. Epub 2006 Jun 18. Erratum In: Nat Genet. 2006 Aug;38(8):957. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Polster B, Crosier M, Lindsay S, Hayflick S. Expression of PLA2G6 in human fetal development: Implications for infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy. Brain Res Bull. 2010 Nov 20;83(6):374-9. doi: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2010.08.011. Epub 2010 Sep 9. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Schneider SA, Bhatia KP. Rare causes of dystonia parkinsonism. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2010 Nov;10(6):431-9. doi: 10.1007/s11910-010-0136-0. Citation on PubMed
  • Schneider SA, Hardy J, Bhatia KP. Syndromes of neurodegeneration with brain iron accumulation (NBIA): an update on clinical presentations, histological and genetic underpinnings, and treatment considerations. Mov Disord. 2012 Jan;27(1):42-53. doi: 10.1002/mds.23971. Epub 2011 Oct 26. Citation on PubMed
  • Wu Y, Jiang Y, Gao Z, Wang J, Yuan Y, Xiong H, Chang X, Bao X, Zhang Y, Xiao J, Wu X. Clinical study and PLA2G6 mutation screening analysis in Chinese patients with infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy. Eur J Neurol. 2009 Feb;16(2):240-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2008.02397.x. Epub 2008 Dec 9. Citation on PubMed

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