Repression of the insulin-like growth factor II gene by the Wilms tumor suppressor WT1

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Science  31 Jul 1992:
Vol. 257, Issue 5070, pp. 674-678
DOI: 10.1126/science.1323141


The Wilms tumor suppressor gene wt1 encodes a zinc finger DNA binding protein, WT1, that functions as a transcriptional repressor. The fetal mitogen insulin-like growth factor II (IGF-II) is overexpressed in Wilms tumors and may have autocrine effects in tumor progression. The major fetal IGF-II promoter was defined in transient transfection assays as a region spanning from nucleotides -295 to +135, relative to the transcription start site. WT1 bound to multiple sites in this region and functioned as a potent repressor of IGF-II transcription in vivo. Maximal repression was dependent on the presence of WT1 binding sites on each side of the transcriptional initiation site. These findings provide a molecular basis for overexpression of IGF-II in Wilms tumors and suggest that WT1 negatively regulates blastemal cell proliferation by limiting the production of a fetal growth factor in the developing vertebrate kidney.

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