Pancreatic β-cell mitochondrial glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (mGPDH) plays a major role in glucose-induced insulin secretion. Decreased activity of this enzyme has thus been proposed to play a role in the pathogenesis of NIDDM. Cloning of human insulinoma mGPDH cDNAs disclosed the existence of two variant transcripts with different 5′ ends. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) confirmed the presence of both mGPDH mRNAs in purified native human pancreatic islets and other tissues. A major 6.5-Kb mGPDH transcript was detected by Northern blot analysis in RNA from human and rat pancreatic islets, with distinctly lower levels in other human tissues, indicating that previously reported high mGPDH enzymatic activity in β-cells is determined by high transcript levels. The mGPDH gene was mapped to chromosome 2 by PCR analysis of genomic DNA from human/rodent somatic cell hybrids, and five independent overlapping yeast artificial chromosome (YAC) clones containing the mGPDH sequence were identified from the Centre d'Etude du Polymorphisme Humain YAC library. Analysis of these YAC clones identified a highly polymorphic chromosome 2q21-q33 dinucleotide repeat genetic marker (D2S141) physically linked to the mGPDH gene. These studies provide the means to investigate the role of the human mGPDH gene in the pathogenesis of NIDDM and illustrate the value of a novel strategy to identify genetic markers for diabetes candidate genes.

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