Variants in HNF1A encoding hepatocyte nuclear factor 1α (HNF-1A) are associated with maturity-onset diabetes of the young form 3 (MODY 3) and type 2 diabetes. We investigated whether functional classification of HNF1A rare coding variants can inform models of diabetes risk prediction in the general population by analyzing the effect of 27 HNF1A variants identified in well-phenotyped populations (n = 4,115). Bioinformatics tools classified 11 variants as likely pathogenic and showed no association with diabetes risk (combined minor allele frequency [MAF] 0.22%; odds ratio [OR] 2.02; 95% CI 0.73-5.60; P = 0.18). However, a different set of 11 variants that reduced HNF-1A transcriptional activity to <60% of normal (wild-type) activity was strongly associated with diabetes in the general population (combined MAF 0.22%; OR 5.04; 95% CI 1.99-12.80; P = 0.0007). Our functional investigations indicate that 0.44% of the population carry HNF1A variants that result in a substantially increased risk for developing diabetes. These results suggest that functional characterization of variants within MODY genes may overcome the limitations of bioinformatics tools for the purposes of presymptomatic diabetes risk prediction in the general population.
© 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.