Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have repeatedly shown an association between non-coding variants in the TCF7L2 locus and risk for type 2 diabetes (T2D), implicating a role for cis-regulatory variation within this locus in disease etiology. Supporting this hypothesis, we previously localized complex regulatory activity to the TCF7L2 T2D-associated interval using an in vivo bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) enhancer-trapping reporter strategy. To follow-up on this broad initial survey of the TCF7L2 regulatory landscape, we performed a fine-mapping enhancer scan using in vivo mouse transgenic reporter assays. We functionally interrogated approximately 50% of the sequences within the T2D-associated interval, utilizing sequence conservation within this 92-kb interval to determine the regulatory potential of all evolutionary conserved sequences that exhibited conservation to the non-eutherian mammal opossum. Included in this study was a detailed functional interrogation of sequences spanning both protective and risk alleles of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs7903146, which has exhibited allele-specific enhancer function in pancreatic beta cells. Using these assays, we identified nine segments regulating various aspects of the TCF7L2 expression profile and that constitute nearly 70% of the sequences tested. These results highlight the regulatory complexity of this interval and support the notion that a TCF7L2 cis-regulatory disruption leads to T2D predisposition.
Savic, D., Bell, G. I., & Nobrega, M. A. (2012). An in vivo cis-regulatory screen at the type 2 diabetes associated TCF7l2 locus identifies multiple tissue-specific enhancers. PLoS ONE, 7(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0036501