Wilms' tumor 1-KTS isoforms induce p53-independent apoptosis that can be partially rescued by expression of the epidermal growth factor receptor or the insulin receptor

A L Menke, A Shvarts, N Riteco, R C van Ham, A J van der Eb, A G Jochemsen
Cancer Research 1997 April 1, 57 (7): 1353-63
The Wilms' tumor 1 gene (WT1) encodes a transcription factor of the zinc-finger family. As a result of alternative RNA splicing, the gene can be expressed as four polypeptides that differ in the presence or absence of a stretch of 17 amino acids just NH2 terminal of the four zinc fingers and a stretch of three amino acids (+/-KTS) between zinc fingers 3 and 4. In this study, cDNA constructs encoding the four human Wilms' tumor 1 splice variants were transiently transfected into the p53-negative Hep3B and the p53-positive HepG2 hepatoma cell lines. Morphological assessment of the WT1-expressing cells showed that the WT1(-KTS) splice variants induced apoptosis in both cell lines, whereas the WT1(+KTS) isoforms did not. The induction of apoptosis by the WT1(-KTS) isoforms appears to be p53 independent in the hepatoma cell lines. Furthermore, it was found that the WT1(-KTS)-induced apoptosis could not be suppressed by coexpression of either the Mr 21,000 E1B, the Bcl-2, or the BAG-1 protein. Coexpression of either the epidermal growth factor receptor or the insulin receptor, however, partially rescued the cells from apoptosis.

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