What is the official name of the GNA11 gene?
The official name of this gene is “guanine nucleotide binding protein (G protein), alpha 11 (Gq class).”
GNA11 is the gene's official symbol. The GNA11 gene is also known by other names, listed below.
Read more about gene names and symbols on the About page.
What is the normal function of the GNA11 gene?
The GNA11 gene provides instructions for making one component, the alpha (α) subunit, of a protein complex called a guanine nucleotide-binding protein (G protein). Each G protein is composed of three proteins called the alpha, beta, and gamma subunits. Specifically, the protein produced from theGNA11 gene, called Gα11, is the alpha subunit for a G protein called G11.
In a process called signal transduction, G proteins trigger a complex network of signaling pathways that ultimately influence many cell functions. The G11 protein plays many roles in cells. It works with another protein called the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) to affect processes that regulate calcium levels in the blood. CaSR proteins in kidney cells and cells of the parathyroid gland sense when a certain concentration of calcium in the blood is reached; the CaSR protein then stimulates the G11subunits, including Gα11, to send signals that block processes that increase the amount of calcium in the blood. In particular, this signaling blocks the production and release of a hormone called parathyroid hormone. Parathyroid hormone enhances the release of calcium into the blood, so blocking this hormone prevents calcium release. In the kidneys, which filter fluid and waste products in the body and can reabsorb needed nutrients and release them back into the blood, G11 signaling blocks the reabsorption of calcium from the filtered fluids.
G11 signaling is also involved in the growth and division (proliferation) and self-destruction (apoptosis) of cells in tissues throughout the body, including those in the eyes, skin, heart, and brain.
How are changes in the GNA11 gene related to health conditions?
- autosomal dominant hypocalcemia - caused by mutations in the GNA11 gene
- At least five mutations in the GNA11 gene have been found in individuals with autosomal dominant hypocalcemia type 2. This condition is characterized by low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia). The mutations involved in this condition change single protein building blocks (amino acids) in Gα11. These genetic changes are called activating mutations because the altered alpha subunit is overactive, sending signals to block a rise in calcium levels, even when levels are very low. As a result, calcium levels in the blood remain abnormally low, causing hypocalcemia. Hypocalcemia can cause muscle cramping and seizures, although about half of people with the condition have no associated health problems.Because overactive Gα11 signaling blocks the production of parathyroid hormone, the levels of this hormone in the blood can be abnormally low, which is known as hypoparathyroidism. For this reason, autosomal dominant hypocalcemia is sometimes referred to as autosomal dominant hypoparathyroidism.
- cancers - associated with the GNA11 gene
- The gene mutations that cause autosomal dominant hypocalcemia (described above) are typically inherited and found in every cell in the body (known as germline mutations). However, some gene mutations are not inherited and are instead acquired during a person's lifetime. These changes, which are called somatic mutations, are present only in certain cells. Somatic mutations in the GNA11 gene have been found in cancerous tumors in the eye known as uveal melanomas. These tumors occur in the colored part of the eye (the iris) or in related tissues known as the ciliary body and the choroid (collectively, these tissues are called the uvea). Less commonly, GNA11 gene mutations are associated with a type of skin tumor called a blue nevus, so named because of its characteristic bluish appearance. This type of growth is typically noncancerous. GNA11 gene mutations are activating, leading to production of an overactive Gα11 protein that stimulates uncontrolled proliferation of the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) in the uvea or in the skin.Individuals with uveal melanomas or blue nevi appear to have normal levels of calcium in their blood, and people with an inherited GNA11-related calcium concentration disorder do not seem to have an increased risk of developing one of these types of tumors.
- other disorders - caused by mutations in the GNA11 gene
- Germline mutations in the GNA11 gene are also involved in a different condition related to abnormal calcium concentrations. Genetic changes that impair Gα11 signaling cause familial hypocalciuric hypercalcemia type 2. In contrast to autosomal dominant hypocalcemia (described above), this condition is characterized by high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia) and low levels of calcium in the urine (hypocalciuria). Because Gα11 signaling to block parathyroid hormone release is impaired, calcium levels in the blood rise, leading to hypercalcemia. Affected individuals typically have no symptoms related to the condition.
Where is the GNA11 gene located?
Cytogenetic Location: 19p13.3
Molecular Location on chromosome 19: base pairs 3,094,409 to 3,124,001
The GNA11 gene is located on the short (p) arm of chromosome 19 at position 13.3.
More precisely, the GNA11 gene is located from base pair 3,094,409 to base pair 3,124,001 on chromosome 19.
See How do geneticists indicate the location of a gene? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about GNA11?
You and your healthcare professional may find the following resources about GNA11 helpful.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for genetics professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for the GNA11 gene or gene products?
See How are genetic conditions and genes named? in the Handbook.
Where can I find general information about genes?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
- What is DNA?
- What is a gene?
- How do genes direct the production of proteins?
- How can gene mutations affect health and development?
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding GNA11?
acids ; apoptosis ; autosomal ; autosomal dominant ; calcium ; cell ; choroid ; ciliary body ; class ;familial ; gene ; germline ; guanine ; hormone ; hypercalcemia ; hypoparathyroidism ; inherited ;kidney ; melanocytes ; nucleotide ; parathyroid ; parathyroid gland ; pigment ; proliferation ; protein ;receptor ; signal transduction ; subunit ; transduction ; tumor ; uvea ; uveal
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (6 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.