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Keywords:

  • WT1;
  • EMT;
  • MET;
  • kidney;
  • podocyte;
  • cancer

Abstract

WT1 is a versatile gene that controls transitions between the mesenchymal and epithelial state of cells in a tissue-context dependent manner. As such, WT1 is indispensable for normal development of many organs and tissues. Uncontrolled epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a hallmark of a diverse array of pathologies and disturbance of mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) has been associated with a number of developmental abnormalities. It is therefore not surprising that WT1 has been linked to many of these. Here we review the role of WT1 in proper control of the mesenchymal–epithelial balance of cells and discuss how far these roles can explain the role of WT1 in a variety of disease states. Copyright © 2011 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.