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Oncogene. 1994 Feb;9(2):583-95.

Antisense transcripts and protein binding motifs within the Wilms tumour (WT1) locus.

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Department of Cancer Biology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio 44195.


Transcription of the WT1 locus is restricted, both temporally and spatially, to a subset of epithelial cells in mammalian kidneys and gonads. WT1, one of the two divergent transcripts mapping to this locus encodes a zinc finger protein that is likely a transcriptional regulator. The other transcript, WIT1, encodes a product of unknown function that is subject to alternate splicing in the region immediately 5' of the WT1 gene. Analysis of the 5' end of this locus further revealed the presence of multiple transcriptional start sites for both genes, such that some of the WIT1 transcripts are encoded by the antisense strand of the first exon of WT1. The genomic region surrounding the transcriptional start sites appears to constitute part of a bi-directional promoter based on the ability of a DNA fragment derived from this region to direct expression of a chimeric CAT gene construct in transient transfection assays. Discrete sequences within the region are capable of interaction in vitro with nuclear extracts derived from a variety of rat and mouse tissues. Interestingly, recombinant WT1, representing the product of zinc finger region of the most abundant of the four alternatively spliced transcripts, is also capable of binding to sequences within this region.

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