The amino acid sequence of the insulin receptor is normal in an insulin-resistant Pima Indian
Insulin resistance is an early predictor of development of noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) in Pima Indians, a population with the highest reported prevalence of NIDDM. The insulin receptor plays a central role in mediating insulin action, and previous studies have demonstrated that mutations in the insulin receptor gene may cause insulin resistance. Therefore, we have cloned the insulin receptor cDNA from an insulin-resistant Pima Indian to determine if there is a mutation in the patient's insulin receptor gene. We obtained nine cDNA clones spanning exons 4-10 and 12-22 of the patient's insulin receptor gene. Polymorphisms in the nucleotide sequences for codons 523 (Ala), 1058 (His), and 1062 (Leu) provided useful markers to differentiate the patient's two alleles of the insulin receptor gene. These substitutions were silent, in that they did not alter the predicted amino acid sequence. The sequence of exons 1-3 and 11 was determined directly from genomic DNA that had been amplified using the polymerase chain reaction catalyzed by Taq DNA polymerase. Other investigators have reported defects in insulin binding and insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity in diabetic Pima Indians. However, we did not detect any mutations in this patient's insulin receptor gene. Thus, these observations are consistent with the interpretation that the defects in insulin receptor function are acquired rather than derived from defects in the primary structure of the receptor.