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ABC gene family

Reviewed January 2008

What are the ABC genes?

Genes in the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) family provide instructions for making transporter proteins that carry many types of molecules, such as fats, sugars, protein building blocks (amino acids) and drugs, across cell membranes. In most cases, the transporters move the molecules into specific cell compartments so they can be processed, or out of the cell so they can be used elsewhere or excreted from the body. If the molecules are not transported properly, they may be unavailable where they are needed for body functions. The molecules can also build up over time and damage the cells.

ABC transporter proteins are made in many tissues of the body, and use energy from a molecule called ATP to move substances across the cell membranes. They are grouped together because they all have common structures (domains) that bind to ATP. Most of the genes in this family are designated by the letters ABC and an additional letter indicating the subgroup to which they belong. The subgroup designation is based on their structure and similarity to other transporters in the family. They also receive a number to designate the specific gene within the subgroup, for example ABCA12.

Which genes are included in the ABC gene family?

The HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee (HGNC) provides a list of genes in the ABC familyThis link leads to a site outside Genetics Home Reference..

Genetics Home Reference provides additional information about these members of the ABC gene family: ABCA1, ABCA12, ABCC6, ABCD1, and CFTR.

What conditions are related to genes in the ABC gene family?

Where can I find general information about genes and gene families?

The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.

What glossary definitions help with understanding the ABC (ATP-binding cassette transporters) gene family?

acids ; amino acid ; ATP ; cell ; cell membrane ; domain ; fibrosis ; gene ; molecule ; protein ; tissue ; transmembrane

You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.

References (5 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.

Reviewed: January 2008
Published: January 23, 2009