Insulin Related Transcription Factor

Description: The invention pertains to the identification and cloning of the gene encoding a previously-unknown beta-cell specific transcription factor controlling insulin gene expression. There are known to be at least three critical enhancer elements that regulate expression of the gene encoding insulin, and the transcription factors that bind two of these elements have previously been identified. Although the existence of the third glucose responsive transcription factor has been implicated, the inventor is the first to clone the gene encoding this factor. There are several potential applications of this discovery to diabetes and other insulin-related disorders. Clinical & Commercial Utility: The invention includes methods of therapy for diabetes or other insulin-related disorders, using the transcription factor to modulate the expression of the insulin gene, and hence modulate production of insulin in the body. This could be done by gene therapy to deliver the gene for the transcription factor and/or to modulate its activity or expression. Other therapeutic approaches involving cell therapies are also possible. In addition, the molecular interaction of the transcription factor with its DNA binding element can be used as a target for drug discovery, to identify drugs that disrupt or enhance the ability of the factor to bind the enhancer. A third embodiment relates to the fact that genetic defects in the two other known insulin transcription factors correlate to a susceptibility to develop diabetes, so that the invention may lead to a useful diagnostic assay if this new factor also correlates to such a susceptibility.
Two U.S. patent applications claiming this invention have been filed. The research comprising the invention has been published (Olbrot, et al., PNAS 99:6737-6742, 2002).

Type of Offer: Licensing

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