In Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus a genetic predisposition exists to nephropathy and is related to parental hypertension. Enhanced G-protein activation, a cellular phenotype observed in cultured cells from patients with essential hypertension, was recently documented in Type I diabetic subjects with nephropathy. This enhanced G-protein activation has been associated with a genetic variant in the G-protein beta3 subunit, GNB3. A C-->T polymorphism at position 825 in exon 10 is associated with G-protein activation, the T allele associated with enhanced activity. Furthermore the T allele was observed more frequently in a group with essential hypertension. In this report we have analysed the role of the C825T polymorphism in the predisposition to diabetic nephropathy in Type I diabetes. We have investigated the frequency of this polymorphism in a large case-control study and found no association of the T allele with diabetic nephropathy. Specifically carriage of the T allele as CT or TT was observed in 49% of 200 Type I diabetic control subjects with normoalbuminuria (diabetes duration 24 years) compared with 53% of 216 Type I diabetic subjects with nephropathy (overt proteinuria or end-stage renal failure). Within this group we have also examined the inheritance of C825T alleles in a family study and found no evidence for excess transmission of the T allele to Type I diabetic offspring with nephropathy (T allele transmitted to 51% of nephropathy offspring, C allele transmitted to 49% of nephropathy offspring, p = 0.79). In none of the Type I diabetic datasets examined was there any effect of genotype on variation in systolic or diastolic blood pressure. In conclusion we can find no evidence for the C825T polymorphism of the beta3 G-protein subunit as a major gene in the susceptibility to diabetic nephropathy in Type I diabetes.