Hepatocyte nuclear factors 3 (HNF-3 alpha, -3 beta and -3 gamma) belong to an evolutionarily conserved family of transcription factors that are critical for diverse biological processes such as development, differentiation and metabolism. Gene expression studies have shown that HNF3 proteins are critical regulators of the early-onset type 2 diabetes genes HNF-1 alpha, HNF-4 alpha and IPF-1/PDX-1 (MODY3, 1 and 4, respectively) and of glucagon transcription and pancreatic alpha-cell function. In this study, we investigated whether genetic variation in the genes encoding HNF-3 alpha, HNF-3 beta and HNF-3 gamma predisposes humans to hyperglycemic or hypoglycemic syndromes. In addition, we report the cloning and partial nucleotide sequence of the human HNF-3 alpha, -3 beta and -3 gamma genes. Mutation screening included 96 subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus, as well as one family with persistent neonatal hypoglycemia. No functional mutations were detected in the coding sequences of the three HNF-3 genes. Our results suggest that mutations in HNF-3 genes are not a common cause of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The data provided will facilitate genetic studies in other populations and will advance our understanding of the role HNF-3 plays in the development of diabetes mellitus and other metabolic disorders of glucose homeostasis.
Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel