The islet-1 (Isl-1) gene encodes a protein that binds to the enhancer region of the insulin gene. Isl-1 is a member of the LIM/homeodomain family of transcription factors. Because insulin deficiency, either relative or absolute, is a cardinal feature of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), this study addressed the question of whether mutations in genes that regulate insulin production could be involved. Rat Isl-1 was the first insulin enhancer binding protein to be isolated, and, in this study, the rat gene was used to isolate a partial human islet Isl-1 cDNA and subsequently to isolate genomic clones. A simple sequence repeat was found in the Isl-1 gene, and polymerase chain reaction amplification of this region of genomic DNA revealed 12 alleles in St. Louis African-Americans (het = 0.87), 14 alleles in black Nigerians (het = 0.89), 8 alleles in Japanese (het = 0.69), and 8 alleles in Caucasians (het = 0.81). Genetic linkage analysis uniquely placed Isl-1 on chromosome 5q (D5S395[12.8 cM]Isl-1 [11.6 cM]D5S407). The simple sequence repeat polymorphism at the Isl-1 locus was used to evaluate mutations in this gene as a possible contributor to the pathogenesis of NIDDM. Allelic frequencies did not differ between patients with NIDDM (n = 165) and nondiabetic control subjects (n = 163) in two black populations (St. Louis African-Americans and Nigerians). Linkage analyses in 15 nonglucokinase maturity-onset diabetes of the young pedigrees indicated that linkage could be rejected (LOD score < −3.0) over a distance of 15 cM.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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