Aims/hypothesis. Molecular defects of the genes for transcription factors, hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-4α, HNF-1α, HNF-1β and insulin promoter factor-1 cause maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY1, 3, 5, and 4, respectively). This suggests the HNF-related transcription cascade is important in insulin secretion which is induced by glucose. These genes and the gene encoding glycolytic enzyme glucokinase (MODY2) are, however, responsible for only 15-20% of cases of MODY in the Japanese. Searching for a novel form of MODY in this population, we cloned a new candidate gene encoding human HNF-3β, a winged helix transcription factor, which also belongs to the same HNF-transcription cascade. Methods. The cDNA clone for human HNF-3β was isolated from a liver cDNA library. The gene was also cloned from a genomic library and its organization and chromosomal localization were determined. We screened 68 Japanese subjects with MODY/early-onset diabetes for mutations in this gene. Results. Human HNF-3β is composed of 457 amino acids. The human gene, which was mapped to the segment 30 cR from SHGC-37039 on chromosome 20p by radiation hybrid mapping, spans approximately 4.5 kb and consists of three exons. Direct sequencing of the exons and flanking regions identified one missense mutation A328 V and seven polymorphisms, although the functional significance of the mutation in the pathogenesis of diabetes is not known. Conclusion/interpretation. The characterization of the structure of the HNF-3β gene and its mapping in the framework of markers will be helpful in genetic studies of the various forms of diabetes mellitus.
- Gene expression
- Insulin secretion