BACKGROUND: There is considerable interest in the hypothesis that low frequency, intermediate penetrance variants contribute to the proportion of Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) susceptibility not attributable to the common variants uncovered through genome-wide association approaches. Genes previously implicated in monogenic and multifactorial forms of diabetes are obvious candidates in this respect. In this study, we focussed on exons 8-10 of the HNF1A gene since rare, penetrant mutations in these exons (which are only transcribed in selected HNF1A isoforms) are associated with a later age of diagnosis of Maturity onset diabetes of the young (MODY) than mutations in exons 1-7. The age of diagnosis in the subgroup of HNF1A-MODY individuals with exon 8-10 mutations overlaps with that of early multifactorial T2D, and we set out to test the hypothesis that these exons might also harbour low-frequency coding variants of intermediate penetrance that contribute to risk of multifactorial T2D. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We performed targeted capillary resequencing of HNF1A exons 8-10 in 591 European T2D subjects enriched for genetic aetiology on the basis of an early age of diagnosis (< or =45 years) and/or family history of T2D (> or =1 affected sibling). PCR products were sequenced and compared to the published HNF1A sequence. We identified several variants (rs735396 [IVS9-24T>C], rs1169304 [IVS8+29T>C], c.1768+44C>T [IVS9+44C>T] and rs61953349 [c.1545G>A, p.T515T] but no novel non-synonymous coding variants were detected. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: We conclude that low frequency, nonsynonymous coding variants in the terminal exons of HNF1A are unlikely to contribute to T2D-susceptibility in European samples. Nevertheless, the rationale for seeking low-frequency causal variants in genes known to contain rare, penetrant mutations remains strong and should motivate efforts to screen other genes in a similar fashion.
Jafar-Mohammadi, B., Groves, C. J., Owen, K. R., Frayling, T. M., Hattersley, A. T., McCarthy, M. I., & Gloyn, A. L. (2009). Low Frequency Variants in the Exons Only Encoding Isoform A of HNF1A Do Not Contribute to Susceptibility to Type 2 Diabetes. PLoS ONE, 4(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0006615