cDNA cloning and its pronephros-specific expression of the Wilms' tumor suppressor gene, WT1, from Xenopus laevis

Gene. 1996 Oct 10;175(1-2):167-72. doi: 10.1016/0378-1119(96)00143-6.


The Wilms' tumor suppressor gene, WT1, plays a crucial role during early urogenital development in mammals. To elucidate the function of WT1 in other vertebrates, we isolated the Xenopus WT1 homolog (XeWT1) from a testis cDNA library. Comparison of the XeWT1 protein with other WT1 proteins revealed that the zinc finger domain of XeWT1 is identical to that of the human WT1 except for the first two amino acid residues. An alternative splice II site, located between the third and the fourth zinc finger is also conserved. In the transcriptional regulatory region, however, three domains, a glycine stretch, a proline stretch and one alternative splice site which are present in the mammalian WT1, are not conserved in amphibians. The XeWT1 gene is expressed in testis and kidney, and whole mount in situ hybridization revealed that the onset of the WT1 gene expression coincides with the early stages of pronephros development in Xenopus. These findings implicate the involvement of WT1 protein during urogenital development in amphibians as well as in mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Conserved Sequence*
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Genes, Wilms Tumor / genetics*
  • Kidney / embryology*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • WT1 Proteins
  • Xenopus Proteins*
  • Xenopus laevis / genetics*


  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • WT1 Proteins
  • WT1 protein, Xenopus
  • Xenopus Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/D82051