The POLR3B gene provides instructions for making one part (subunit) of an enzyme called RNA polymerase III. This enzyme is involved in the production (synthesis) of ribonucleic acid (RNA), a chemical cousin of DNA. The RNA polymerase III enzyme attaches (binds) to DNA and synthesizes RNA in accordance with the instructions carried by the DNA, a process called transcription. RNA polymerase III helps synthesize several forms of RNA, including ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and transfer RNA (tRNA). Molecules of rRNA and tRNA assemble protein building blocks (amino acids) into working proteins; this process is essential for the normal functioning and survival of cells.
Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes
Pol III-related leukodystrophy
At least 54 POLR3B gene mutations have been associated with Pol III-related leukodystrophy. Leukodystrophies are conditions that involve abnormalities of the nervous system's white matter. White matter consists of nerve fibers covered by a fatty substance called myelin, which insulates nerve fibers and promotes the rapid transmission of nerve impulses. A reduced ability to form myelin (hypomyelination) leads to the signs and symptoms of Pol III-related leukodystrophy, which include intellectual disability and difficulty with coordinating movements (ataxia). Development of the teeth (dentition) is also abnormal in this disorder.
In the Pol III-related leukodystrophies, POLR3B gene mutations may impair the ability of the subunits of the RNA polymerase III enzyme to assemble properly or result in an RNA polymerase III with impaired ability to bind to DNA. Reduced function of the RNA polymerase III molecule likely affects development and function of many parts of the body, but the relationship between POLR3B gene mutations and the specific signs and symptoms of these disorders is unknown.
People with Pol III-related leukodystrophy may have different combinations of its signs and symptoms. These varied combinations of clinical features were originally described as separate disorders. Affected individuals may be diagnosed with ataxia, delayed dentition, and hypomyelination (ADDH); hypomyelination, hypodontia, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism (4H syndrome); tremor-ataxia with central hypomyelination (TACH); leukodystrophy with oligodontia (LO); or hypomyelination with cerebellar atrophy and hypoplasia of the corpus callosum (HCAHC). Because these disorders were later found to have the same genetic cause, researchers now group them as variations of the single condition Pol III-related leukodystrophy.More About This Health Condition
Other Names for This Gene
- DNA-directed RNA polymerase III 127.6 kDa polypeptide
- DNA-directed RNA polymerase III subunit B
- DNA-directed RNA polymerase III subunit RPC2
- DNA-directed RNA polymerase III subunit RPC2 isoform 1
- DNA-directed RNA polymerase III subunit RPC2 isoform 2
- polymerase (RNA) III (DNA directed) polypeptide B
- polymerase (RNA) III subunit B
- RNA polymerase III subunit C2
Additional Information & Resources
Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry
Scientific Articles on PubMed
Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM
- Daoud H, Tetreault M, Gibson W, Guerrero K, Cohen A, Gburek-Augustat J, Synofzik M, Brais B, Stevens CA, Sanchez-Carpintero R, Goizet C, Naidu S, Vanderver A, Bernard G. Mutations in POLR3A and POLR3B are a major cause of hypomyelinating leukodystrophies with or without dental abnormalities and/or hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. J Med Genet. 2013 Mar;50(3):194-7. doi: 10.1136/jmedgenet-2012-101357. Epub 2013 Jan 25. Citation on PubMed
- Saitsu H, Osaka H, Sasaki M, Takanashi J, Hamada K, Yamashita A, Shibayama H, Shiina M, Kondo Y, Nishiyama K, Tsurusaki Y, Miyake N, Doi H, Ogata K, Inoue K, Matsumoto N. Mutations in POLR3A and POLR3B encoding RNA Polymerase III subunits cause an autosomal-recessive hypomyelinating leukoencephalopathy. Am J Hum Genet. 2011 Nov 11;89(5):644-51. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.10.003. Epub 2011 Oct 27. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
- Tetreault M, Choquet K, Orcesi S, Tonduti D, Balottin U, Teichmann M, Fribourg S, Schiffmann R, Brais B, Vanderver A, Bernard G. Recessive mutations in POLR3B, encoding the second largest subunit of Pol III, cause a rare hypomyelinating leukodystrophy. Am J Hum Genet. 2011 Nov 11;89(5):652-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2011.10.006. Epub 2011 Oct 27. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
- Vanderver A, Tonduti D, Bernard G, Lai J, Rossi C, Carosso G, Quezado M, Wong K, Schiffmann R. More than hypomyelination in Pol-III disorder. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol. 2013 Jan;72(1):67-75. doi: 10.1097/NEN.0b013e31827c99d2. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central