Wt1 gene deletion was found to cause deterioration of pancreas, found University of Malaga (UMA) researchers.
Furthermore, they have verified that, after a pancreatic damage, Wt1 gene becomes activated in the so-called stellate cells -a special type of repairing cell present in pancreas and kidney- which are responsible for the repairing process. "Without activation of Wt1, these cells cannot fulfill their function", says the Professor Muñoz-Chápuli, who further points out the crucial role that these cells play in the progression of pancreas cancer, since they ally to tumor cells.
The Wilms' tumor suppressor gene encodes a protein that acts as a master regulator of the function of many other genes, so, as assured by these experts, it plays an important role in the embryonic development of different organs, such as kidneys, spleen, or heart. Likewise, in recent years, findings have been proving that this functional importance also extends to adults.
Finding new functions of Wt1 gene in cardiogenesis and adult hearts is the next step of this research team.