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Cell. 1995 May 5;81(3):391-401.

Subnuclear localization of WT1 in splicing or transcription factor domains is regulated by alternative splicing.

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Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, Scotland.


WT1 is a tumor suppressor gene with a key role in urogenital development and the pathogenesis of Wilms' tumor. Two alternative splice sites in the WT1 transcript allow the gene to encode four proteins. These carry four Kr├╝ppel-type zinc fingers and to date have primarily been implicated in transcriptional control of genes involved in growth regulation. However, here we demonstrate colocalization of WT1 with splicing factors in the fetal kidney and testis and in expressing cell lines. Using immunoprecipitation, we show that two WT1 isoforms directly associate with one or a limited number of components in the spliceosomes and coiled bodies. Moreover, COS cell expression studies suggest that alternative splicing within the WT1 zinc finger region determines whether the protein localizes mainly with splicing factors or with DNA in transcription factor domains in the nucleus. We propose that WT1 plays roles in posttranscriptional processing of RNA as well as in transcription.

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