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We have recently shown that mutations in the gene encoding the transcription factor hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-1alpha 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-1alpha 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-1alpha 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 polyC tract, centered around codon 290 (designated Pro291fsinsC), thereby resulting in a frameshift during translation and premature termination. Analyses of linked DNA polymorphisms in the HNF-1alpha 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-1alpha 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-1alpha 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 beta-cell functions.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





528 - 535


Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biochemistry, University of Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA.


Animals, Humans, Mice, Rats, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, DNA-Binding Proteins, Nuclear Proteins, Transcription Factors, Codon, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Pedigree, Nuclear Family, Age of Onset, Sequence Deletion, Amino Acid Sequence, Base Sequence, Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid, Mutation, Frameshift Mutation, Point Mutation, Polymorphism, Genetic, Exons, Molecular Sequence Data, Adolescent, Adult, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Male, Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1, Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-alpha, Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-beta, Promoter Regions, Genetic