WT1 activates a glomerular-specific enhancer identified from the human nephrin gene

Gordon Guo, Debra J. Morrison, Jonathan D. Licht, Susan E. Quaggin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


The glomerular filtration barrier separates the blood from the urinary space. Nephrin is a transmembrane protein that belongs to the immunoglobulin superfamily and is localized to the slit diaphragms that are a critical component of this filtration barrier. Mutations in the nephrin gene (NPHS1) lead to congenital Finnish nephropathy, whereas alterations in the level of nephrin expression have been identified in a wide range of acquired glomerular diseases. A 186-bp fragment from the human NPHS1 promoter is capable of directing podocyte-specific expression of a β-galactosidase transgene when placed in front of a heterologous minimal promoter in transgenic mice. The Wilms tumor suppressor gene (WT1) is a zinc-finger-containing transcription factor that is coexpressed with NPHS1 in differentiated podocytes; gel shift binding assays demonstrate that a recombinant WT1 protein can bind and activate the 186-bp NPHS1 fragment in a sequence-specific manner. Taken together, these results suggest that WT1 may be required for regulation of the NPHS1 gene in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2851-2856
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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