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Leukemia. 2012 Sep;26(9):2086-95. doi: 10.1038/leu.2012.76. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Real-time PCR quantification of major Wilms' tumor gene 1 (WT1) isoforms in acute myeloid leukemia, their characteristic expression patterns and possible functional consequences.

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CLIP-Childhood Leukaemia Investigation Prague, Department of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, 2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, University Hospital Motol, Prague, Czech Republic.


Wilms' tumor gene 1 (WT1) functions including some contradictory effects may be explained by the presence and interactions of its isoforms, however, their evaluation has been so far complicated by several technical problems. We designed unique quantitative PCR systems for direct quantification of the major WT1 isoforms A[EX5-/KTS-], B[+/-], C[-/+] and D[+/+] and verified their sensitivity, specificity and reproducibility in extensive testing. With this method we evaluated WT1 total and isoform expression in 23 normal bone marrow (BM) samples, 73 childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML), 20 childhood myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), 9 childhood severe aplastic anemia (SAA), 30 adult AML and 29 adult MDS patients. WT1 isoform patterns showed differences among these samples and clustered them into groups representing the specific diagnoses (P<0.0001). Isoform profiles were independent of total WT1 expression and possess certain common features-overexpression of isoform D and EX5[+] variants. The KTS[+]/KTS[-] ratio was less variable than the EX5[+]/EX5[-] ratio and differed between children and adults (P<0.001); the EX5[+]/EX5[-] ratio varied between diagnoses (AML vs MDS, P<0.001). These findings bring new insights into WT1 isoform function and suggest that the ratio of WT1 isoforms, particularly EX5 variants, is probably crucial for the process of malignant transformation.

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