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The PCSK9 Gene: What does it do?

PCSK9 Gene Description:


The PCSK9 gene provides instructions for making a protein that helps regulate the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is produced in the body and obtained from foods that come from animals.

The PCSK9 protein controls the number of low-density lipoprotein receptors, which are proteins on the surface of cells. These receptors play a critical role in regulating blood cholesterol levels. The receptors bind to particles called low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), which are the primary carriers of cholesterol in the blood. Low-density lipoprotein receptors are particularly abundant in the liver, the organ responsible for removing most excess cholesterol from the body.

The number of low-density lipoprotein receptors on the surface of liver cells determines how quickly cholesterol is removed from the bloodstream. The PCSK9 protein breaks down low-density lipoprotein receptors before they reach the cell surface, so more cholesterol can remain in the bloodstream.

Genetic Lifehacks articles that include PCSK9 variants (SNPs):

PCSK9 Gene: Understanding the variants that cause high or low LDL cholesterol

LDL Cholesterol Genes

What is YOUR risk of heart disease?

Top 10 Genes to Check in Your Genetic Raw Data


About the Author:
Debbie Moon is the founder of Genetic Lifehacks. Fascinated by the connections between genes, diet, and health, her goal is to help you understand how to apply genetics to your diet and lifestyle decisions. Debbie has a BS in engineering from Colorado School of Mines and an MSc in biological sciences from Clemson University. Debbie combines an engineering mindset with a biological systems approach to help you understand how genetic differences impact your optimal health.