The Wilms' tumor gene WT1 functions as a tumor suppressor gene, repressing transcription of several growth factors and growth factor receptors. The bcl-2 and c-myc proto-oncogenes are essential for regulation of apoptosis and cell proliferation with roles in development and oncogenesis. We found that WT1 can repress transcription of both the bcl-2 and c-myc promoters. This suggests that WT1 regulates bcl-2 and c-myc during renal development, and the loss of functional WT1 results in deregulation of bcl-2 and c-myc, contributing to tumor formation.
This work was supported by grants from the NIH (CA34936 and CA16672). T. J. M. and F. J. R. are Pew Scholars in the Biomedical Sciences. S. M. H. is an M.D./Ph.D. Predoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and is supported by Grant T32 CA09299.