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Li, V. GAN Gene. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 14 April 2024).
Li V. GAN Gene. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 14, 2024.
Li, Vivi. "GAN Gene" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 14, 2024).
Li, V. (2020, December 25). GAN Gene. In Encyclopedia.
Li, Vivi. "GAN Gene." Encyclopedia. Web. 25 December, 2020.
GAN Gene



1. Normal Function

The GAN gene provides instructions for making a protein called gigaxonin. Gigaxonin is part of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, which is a multi-step process that identifies and gets rid of excess or damaged proteins or structures (organelles) within cells. The ubiquitin-proteasome system tags unneeded proteins with a small protein called ubiquitin, marking them for destruction by a complex of enzymes called a proteasome. As part of this process, enzymes called E3 ubiquitin ligases recognize the specific proteins to be broken down and attach ubiquitin to them. Gigaxonin belongs to a group of E3 ubiquitin ligases called the Cul3-E3 ligases. It helps break down protein structures called intermediate filaments, which form networks that provide support and strength to cells.

In nerve cells (neurons), gigaxonin is thought to help break down specialized intermediate filaments called neurofilaments. Neurofilaments comprise the structural framework that establishes the size and shape of nerve cell extensions called axons, which are essential for transmission of nerve impulses.

2. Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

2.1 Giant Axonal Neuropathy

At least 47 mutations in the GAN gene have been identified in people with giant axonal neuropathy, an inherited disorder that causes gradually worsening loss of movement and sensation. Giant axonal neuropathy is characterized by abnormally large (giant) and deteriorating axons.

GAN gene mutations result in an unstable gigaxonin protein that breaks down easily, resulting in much less gigaxonin in cells than normal. In neurons, the reduction in gigaxonin leads to accumulation of neurofilaments that should have been destroyed by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The neurofilaments become densely packed in the giant axons of people with giant axonal neuropathy. The giant axons are commonly seen in the peripheral nerves, which carry signals between the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) and other areas of the body. However, axons in the central nervous system can be affected as well. These abnormal axons do not transmit signals properly and eventually deteriorate, causing severe problems in the peripheral nerves and the central nervous system.

3. Other Names for This Gene

  • GAN1


  • giant axonal neuropathy (gigaxonin)

  • KLHL16


  1. Allen E, Ding J, Wang W, Pramanik S, Chou J, Yau V, Yang Y.Gigaxonin-controlled degradation of MAP1B light chain is critical to neuronalsurvival. Nature. 2005 Nov 10;438(7065):224-8.
  2. Boizot A, Talmat-Amar Y, Morrogh D, Kuntz NL, Halbert C, Chabrol B, Houlden H,Stojkovic T, Schulman BA, Rautenstrauss B, Bomont P. The instability of theBTB-KELCH protein Gigaxonin causes Giant Axonal Neuropathy and constitutes a new penetrant and specific diagnostic test. Acta Neuropathol Commun. 2014 Apr24;2:47. doi: 10.1186/2051-5960-2-47.
  3. Bomont P, Cavalier L, Blondeau F, Ben Hamida C, Belal S, Tazir M, Demir E,Topaloglu H, Korinthenberg R, Tüysüz B, Landrieu P, Hentati F, Koenig M. The geneencoding gigaxonin, a new member of the cytoskeletal BTB/kelch repeat family, is mutated in giant axonal neuropathy. Nat Genet. 2000 Nov;26(3):370-4.
  4. Bomont P, Ioos C, Yalcinkaya C, Korinthenberg R, Vallat JM, Assami S, Munnich A, Chabrol B, Kurlemann G, Tazir M, Koenig M. Identification of seven novelmutations in the GAN gene. Hum Mutat. 2003 Apr;21(4):446.
  5. Hentati F, Hentati E, Amouri R. Giant axonal neuropathy. Handb Clin Neurol.2013;115:933-8. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444-52902-2.00052-7. Review.
  6. Incecik F, Herguner OM, Ceylaner S, Zorludemir S, Altunbasak S. Giant axonaldisease: Report of eight cases. Brain Dev. 2015 Sep;37(8):803-7. doi:10.1016/j.braindev.2014.12.002.
  7. Johnson-Kerner BL, Garcia Diaz A, Ekins S, Wichterle H. Kelch Domain ofGigaxonin Interacts with Intermediate Filament Proteins Affected in Giant Axonal Neuropathy. PLoS One. 2015 Oct 13;10(10):e0140157. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140157.
  8. Johnson-Kerner BL, Roth L, Greene JP, Wichterle H, Sproule DM. Giant axonalneuropathy: An updated perspective on its pathology and pathogenesis. MuscleNerve. 2014 Oct;50(4):467-76. doi: 10.1002/mus.24321. Review.
  9. Kuhlenbäumer G, Timmerman V, Bomont P. Giant Axonal Neuropathy. 2003 Jan 9[updated 2014 Oct 9]. In: Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Pagon RA, Wallace SE, Bean LJH,Stephens K, Amemiya A, editors. GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle (WA): Universityof Washington, Seattle; 1993-2020. Available from
  10. Mahammad S, Murthy SN, Didonna A, Grin B, Israeli E, Perrot R, Bomont P,Julien JP, Kuczmarski E, Opal P, Goldman RD. Giant axonal neuropathy-associatedgigaxonin mutations impair intermediate filament protein degradation. J ClinInvest. 2013 May;123(5):1964-75. doi: 10.1172/JCI66387.
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Update Date: 25 Dec 2020