Binding of the Wilms' tumor locus zinc finger protein to the EGR-1 consensus sequence

Science  30 Nov 1990:
Vol. 250, Issue 4985, pp. 1259-1262
DOI: 10.1126/science.2244209


The Wilms' tumor locus (WTL) at 11p13 contains a gene that encodes a zinc finger-containing protein that has characteristics of a DNA-binding protein. However, binding of this protein to DNA in a sequence-specific manner has not been demonstrated. A synthetic gene was constructed that contained the zinc finger region, and the protein was expressed in Escherichia coli. The recombinant protein was used to identify a specific DNA binding site from a pool of degenerate oligonucleotides. The binding sites obtained were similar to the sequence recognized by the early growth response-1 (EGR-1) gene product, a zinc finger-containing protein that is induced by mitogenic stimuli. A mutation in the zinc finger region of the protein originally identified in a Wilms' tumor patient abolished its DNA-binding activity. These results suggest that the WTL protein may act at the DNA binding site of a growth factor-inducible gene and that loss of DNA-binding activity contributes to the tumorigenic process.

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