The MODY1 gene HNF-4alpha regulates selected genes involved in insulin secretion.

Department of Genetics, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
Journal of Clinical Investigation (Impact Factor: 13.77). 05/2005; 115(4):1006-15. DOI: 10.1172/JCI22365
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mutations in the gene encoding hepatocyte nuclear factor-4alpha (HNF-4alpha) result in maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY). To determine the contribution of HNF-4alpha to the maintenance of glucose homeostasis by the beta cell in vivo, we derived a conditional knockout of HNF-4alpha using the Cre-loxP system. Surprisingly, deletion of HNF-4alpha in beta cells resulted in hyperinsulinemia in fasted and fed mice but paradoxically also in impaired glucose tolerance. Islet perifusion and calcium-imaging studies showed abnormal responses of the mutant beta cells to stimulation by glucose and sulfonylureas. These phenotypes can be explained in part by a 60% reduction in expression of the potassium channel subunit Kir6.2. We demonstrate using cotransfection assays that the Kir6.2 gene is a transcriptional target of HNF-4alpha. Our data provide genetic evidence that HNF-4alpha is required in the pancreatic beta cell for regulation of the pathway of insulin secretion dependent on the ATP-dependent potassium channel.

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