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AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: The recently identified alternative promoter (P2) of HNF-4 alpha is the major HNF-4 alpha transcription start site in pancreatic beta cells. The significance of the P2 promoter was shown by the identification of a mutation in the IPF-1 binding site of the alternative promoter which cosegregated with diabetes in a large MODY family. The role of the P2 promoter and the associated alternative exon 1 in both MODY and polygenic Type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus is not known. Linkage to this region in studies of Type II diabetes makes the P2 region a strong candidate for a role in Type II diabetes susceptibility. METHODS: To assess the role of the P2 region we screened MODY, young-onset Type II diabetic subjects, and probands from Type II diabetes families linked to chromosome 20 for variants of the P2 promoter and associated exon of HNF-4 alpha. RESULTS: Two variants were found that were not present in the control subjects. The -79 C/T substitution was present in a MODY family but did not perfectly cosegregate with diabetes. A -276 G/T substitution was identified in two UK young-onset diabetes probands but did not co-segregate with diabetes. Reporter gene studies did not indicate changes in transcriptional activity caused by either the -79 C/T or -276 G/T single nucleotide substitutions. CONCLUSION/INTERPRETATION: We found no evidence to suggest that variation in the P2 proximal promoter region and associated alternative exon 1 of HNF-4 alpha contribute to young onset Type II diabetes susceptibility in Northern Europeans.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1344 - 1348


Adolescent, Adult, Age of Onset, Aged, Alternative Splicing, Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors, Child, DNA-Binding Proteins, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Exons, Female, Gene Frequency, Genetic Variation, Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4, Humans, Islets of Langerhans, Male, Middle Aged, Phosphoproteins, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Transcription Factors