Mutations in the transcriptional repressor REST predispose to Wilms tumor

Nat Genet. 2015 Dec;47(12):1471-4. doi: 10.1038/ng.3440. Epub 2015 Nov 9.


Wilms tumor is the most common childhood renal cancer. To identify mutations that predispose to Wilms tumor, we are conducting exome sequencing studies. Here we describe 11 different inactivating mutations in the REST gene (encoding RE1-silencing transcription factor) in four familial Wilms tumor pedigrees and nine non-familial cases. Notably, no similar mutations were identified in the ICR1000 control series (13/558 versus 0/993; P < 0.0001) or in the ExAC series (13/558 versus 0/61,312; P < 0.0001). We identified a second mutational event in two tumors, suggesting that REST may act as a tumor-suppressor gene in Wilms tumor pathogenesis. REST is a zinc-finger transcription factor that functions in cellular differentiation and embryonic development. Notably, ten of 11 mutations clustered within the portion of REST encoding the DNA-binding domain, and functional analyses showed that these mutations compromise REST transcriptional repression. These data establish REST as a Wilms tumor predisposition gene accounting for ∼2% of Wilms tumor.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genetic Markers / genetics*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Wilms Tumor / genetics*


  • Genetic Markers
  • RE1-silencing transcription factor
  • Repressor Proteins