• Open Access

Wilms’ tumor gene WT1 17AA(–)/KTS(–) isoform induces morphological changes and promotes cell migration and invasion in vitro


To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: sugiyama@sahs.med.osaka-u.ac.jp


The wild-type Wilms’ tumor gene WT1 is overexpressed in human primary leukemia and in a wide variety of solid cancers. All of the four WT1 isoforms are expressed in primary cancers and each is considered to have a different function. However, the functions of each of the WT1 isoforms in cancer cells remain unclear. The present study demonstrated that constitutive expression of the WT1 17AA(–)/KTS(–) isoform induces morphological changes characterized by a small-sized cell shape in TYK-nu.CP-r (TYK) ovarian cancer cells. In the WT1 17AA(–)/KTS(–) isoform-transduced TYK cells, cell–substratum adhesion was suppressed, and cell migration and in vitro invasion were enhanced compared to that in mock vector-transduced TYK cells. Constitutive expression of the WT1 17AA(–)/KTS(–) isoform also induced morphological changes in five (one gastric, one esophageal, two breast and one fibrosarcoma) of eight cancer cell lines examined. No WT1 isoforms other than the WT1 17AA(–)/KTS(–) isoform induced the phenotypic changes. A decrease in α-actinin 1 and cofilin expression and an increase in gelsolin expression were observed in WT1 17AA(–)/KTS(–) isoform-transduced TYK cells. In contrast, co-expression of α-actinin 1 and cofilin or knockdown of gelsolin expression by small interfering RNA restored WT1 17AA(–)/KTS(–) isoform-transduced TYK cells to a phenotype that was comparable to that of the parent TYK cells. These results indicated that the WT1 17AA(–)/KTS(–) isoform exerted its oncogenic functions through modulation of cytoskeletal dynamics. The present results may provide a novel insight into the signaling pathway of the WT1 gene for its oncogenic functions. (Cancer Sci 2006; 97: 259–270)