The Wilms tumour gene, WT1, in normal and abnormal nephrogenesis

Pediatr Nephrol. 1999 Sep;13(7):620-5. doi: 10.1007/s004670050757.


The Wilms tumour gene, WT1, has been shown to play an important role in normal development of the kidney and gonad. Constitutional mutations predispose to both malformation and childhood tumours of these organs. There is a genotype-phenotype correlation, with missense mutations producing more severe abnormalities than complete absence of one allele. Two syndromes with early-onset protein-losing nephropathy can be distinguished according to the type of WT1 mutation. Children with apparently isolated diffuse mesangial sclerosis may also be WT1 mutation carriers. WT1 is not the major gene mutated in Wilms tumour, but has given important insights into the molecular genetics of this childhood embryonal kidney cancer. Recommendations for management of children suspected of having a WT1 mutation are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology
  • Genes, Wilms Tumor / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney / embryology*
  • Kidney Diseases / embryology*
  • Kidney Diseases / genetics*
  • Mutation / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • WT1 Proteins


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • WT1 Proteins