Activation of the wt1 Wilms' tumor suppressor gene by NF-κB


The Wilm's tumor suppressor gene, wt1, is expressed in a very defined spatial-temporal fashion and plays a key role in development of the urogenital system. Trans-acting factors governing wt1 expression are poorly defined. The presence of putative κB binding sites within the wt1 gene prompted us to investigate whether members of the NF-κB/Rel family of transcription factors are involved in regulating wt1 expression. In transient transfection assays, ectopic expression of p50 and p65 subunits of NF-κB stimulated wt1 promoter activity 10–30-fold. Deletion mutagenesis revealed that NF-κB responsiveness is mediated by a short DNA fragment located within promoter proximal sequences of the major transcription start site. Two κB-binding sites are present in this region and form specific complexes with purified NF-κB proteins, as revealed by electrophoretic mobility gel shift assays. Ectopic expression of p50 and p65 resulted in increased transcription of the endogenous wt1 gene, as revealed by nuclear run-on experiments. Taken together, these results indicate that members of the NF-κB/Rel family are important for activating expression of wt1 and reside upstream of the regulatory cascade leading to wt1 activation.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jerry Pelletier.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Dehbi, M., Hiscott, J. & Pelletier, J. Activation of the wt1 Wilms' tumor suppressor gene by NF-κB. Oncogene 16, 2033–2039 (1998).

Download citation


  • WT1
  • NF-κB
  • gene regulation
  • Wilms' tumor

Further reading