Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) has been used to screen for mutations in the insulin receptor gene. Each of the 22 exons was amplified by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). For each exon, one of the two PCR primers contained a guanine-cytosine (GC) clamp at its 5′ end. The DNA was analyzed by electrophoresis through a polyacrylamide gel containing a gradient of denaturants. Two geometries for the gels were compared; the gradient of denaturants was oriented either parallel or perpendicular to the electric field. The sensitivity of the technique was evaluated by determining whether DGGE succeeded in detecting known mutations and polymorphisms in the insulin receptor gene. With parallel gels, 12 of 16 sequence variants were detected. The use of perpendicular gels increased the sensitivity of detection so that all 16 sequence variants were successfully detected when DNA was analyzed by a combination of perpendicular and parallel gels. Furthermore, DGGE was used to investigate a patient with leprechaunism whose insulin receptor genes had not previously been studied. Two mutant alleles were identified in this patient. The allele inherited from the father had a mutation substituting alanine for Val-28; in the allele inherited from the mother, arginine was substituted for Gly-366.

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