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Oncogene. 1999 May 20;18(20):3143-51.

The Wilms' tumor gene product represses the transcription of thrombospondin 1 in response to overexpression of c-Jun.

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CNRS UPR9079, Oncogénèse, Différenciation et Transduction du Signal, Villejuif, France.


Thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) is known for its significant anti-angiogenic properties. In a previous study, we have shown that transient or stable overexpression of the transcription factor c-Jun, in rat fibroblasts, leads to repression of TSP1. We now demonstrate that the c-Jun-induced repression of TSP1 does not occur directly and does not require binding of c-Jun to the TSP1 promoter. Instead, repression involves a factor secreted by c-Jun-overexpressing cells. This secreted factor triggers a signal transduction pathway from the membrane to the nucleus, and these signals lead to the binding of the product of the Wilms' tumor suppressor gene, WT1, to the -210 region of the TSP1 promoter. This region binds WT1 and SP1, but not EGR1, although its sequence fits the consensus binding site for this transcription factor. WT1 overexpression in transfected cells inhibits endogenous TSP1 gene expression and TSP1 transcription in experiments using TSP1 promoter-reporter constructs. The WT1 - KTS isoform is more active in repressing TSP1 transcription than WT1 + KTS, while EGR1 is inactive. Enhancement of WT1 binding to DNA in response to c-Jun does not require de novo protein synthesis. The above mechanism for TSP1 repression could apply to other genes, thus coordinating their regulation in the vicinity of a c-Jun-overexpressing cell. We conclude that WT1, which was discovered as a result of its tumor suppressor properties, may also possess oncogenic characteristics in the c-Jun transformation process, and thus repress the anti-angiogenic protein, TSP1.

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