We have recently shown that mutations in the gene encoding the transcription factor hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-1α are the cause of one form of maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY3). Here, we report the exon-intron organization and partial sequence of the human HNF-1α gene. In addition, we have screened the ten exons and flanking introns of this gene for mutations in a group of 25 unrelated white subjects from Germany who presented with NIDDM before 35 years of age and had a first-degree relative with NIDDM. Mutations were identified in nine of these individuals, suggesting that mutations in the HNF-1α gene are a common cause of diabetes in German subjects with early-onset NIDDM and a family history of diabetes. Thus, screening for mutations in this gene may be indicated in subjects with early-onset NIDDM. Interestingly, three of the nine mutations occurred at the same site in exon 4 with insertion of a C in a polyCtract, centered around codon 290 (designated Pro291fsinsC), thereby resulting in a frameshift during translation and premature termination. Analyses of linked DNA polymorphisms in the HNF-1α gene indicated that the Pro291fsinsC mutation was present on a different haplotype in each subject, implying that the polyC tract represents a mutational hot spot. We have also identified the mutation in the HNF-1α gene in the Jutland pedigree, one of the original MODY pedigrees reported in the literature, as being a T→G substitution in codon 241, resulting in the replacement of a conserved Cys by Gly (C241G). The information on the sequence of the HNF-1α gene and its promoter region will facilitate the search for mutations in other subjects and studies of the role of the gene in determining normal β-cell function.

This content is only available via PDF.