Wilms' tumor gene expression by normal and malignant human B lymphocytes

P. Spinsanti, U. De Grazia, A. Faggioni, L. Frati, A. Calogero, G. Ragona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Very little is known about Wilms' tumor gene (WT1) expression in B cells and its importance for growth regulation and differentiation. We have investigated WT1 expression in fresh B lymphocytes and in a panel of B-cell lines of normal and malignant origin, including both Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genome negative and EBV carrying cell lines. WT1 is constitutively activated in all lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCL) derived from EBV immortalization of lymphocytes from normal donors in vitro. These cell lines are distinguished for the presence of activated B-cell markers and an unrestricted expression of viral latent genes. In contrast, WT1 expression is abrogated in normal B lymphocytes and in all Burkitt tumor derived cell lines, irrespective of the EBV genome carrying status and their phenotype pattern. A single step RT-PCR for simultaneous detection of the four spliced transcript isoforms has been applied to confirm their expression. Analysis of variant relative proportions suggested the maintenance of a balanced expression of the isoforms in LCL, as reported in non tumorous tissues. These data, together with the evidence that the replication in vitro of lymphoblastoid cells is not affected by WT1 activation following viral immortalization, support the hypothesis that gene inactivation, in addition to disrupted alternate splicing, may play a role in growth control derangements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)611-619
Number of pages9
JournalLeukemia and Lymphoma
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • B lymphocytes
  • BLs
  • EBV
  • LCL
  • WT1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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