WT1 maps to chromosome 11p13 and encodes a deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) binding protein whose expression is necessary for normal urogenital development. The WT1 protein binds to some of the same DNA sequences as the early growth response gene-1 (EGR-1) protein, the latter being an immediate-early gene product that activates or represses transcription in a promoter and cell-specific manner. Transient transfection experiments have shown that WT1 can repress EGR-1 activated transcription from the EGR-1 promoter. To determine if WT1 is likely to be a physiologically important repressor of EGR-1 we performed ribonucleic acid (RNA) in situ hybridization of EGR-1 on sequential sagittal sections of murine embryos before and throughout nephrogenesis, and compared the results to our previous study of WT1 expression during murine embryogenesis. Prior to embryological day 9.5 WT1 messenger RNA expression is absent in the embryo proper but is expressed in the maternal uterus. With the initiation of organogenesis on embryological day 10.5 WT1 messenger RNA localizes within the pronephric and mesonephric tissues. By embryological day 11.5 the nephrogenic cord, urogenital ridge and metanephric tissue have WT1 hybridization signals and increasingly centripetal expression of WT1 in the kidney correlates with differentiation from embryological days 11.5 to 16.5. In contrast to previous reports of the tissue restricted expression of WT1, EGR-1 expression by in situ hybridization was apparent in all 3 germ layers and their derivatives throughout embryogenesis. Down-regulation of EGR-1 expression occurred in the maternal uterus as well as the metanephric blastema and its derivatives during renal development. This observation defines a spatial and temporal window during which WT1 competition for EGR-1 DNA binding sites may be involved in regulating EGR-1 expression.