The nucleotide sequences of the NOD and C57BL/6J alleles of Glut-2, Sod-2, and Il-2 were determined by RT-PCR sequencing. Each of these loci is located in intervals that strongly correlated with susceptibility to diabetes in an (NOD/Uf x C57BL/6J)F1 x NOD/Uf backcross. No significant variations in the alleles of Glut-2 at 16 cM on Chromosome (Chr) 3 or Sod-2 at 8 cM on Chr 17 were detected. However, the Il-2 allele in NOD at 20 cM on Chr 3 was found to differ from that in C57BL/6J by a complex mutation involving the contraction of a simple sequence repeat (SSR). Il-2 in NOD differs from the allele in C57BL/6J via a complex mutation involving a deletion of four CAG codons from the SSR together with a length-compensatory four-codon duplication of a segment 5′ from the SSR. Two nonsynonymous mutations in the coding region 5′ to the SSR were also detected. Only these two allelic forms of Il-2 were detected in a survey of 13 standard inbred lines and 4 wild mouse strains. We propose to designate these alleles as Il-2a (for alleles such as C57BL/6J that contain 12 CAG repeats) and Il-2b (for alleles such as NOD), which occurred in a variety of standard inbred strains and in all four wild Mus musculus domesticus tested. The distribution of these Il-2 alleles among inbred strains correlated with the detection of Chr 3 as an interval effecting diabetes susceptibility in three separate genetic crosses. However, functional characterizations of the quantity and functional characteristics of Il-2 produced by Il-2a and Il-2b failed to reveal any allele-specific variations.
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