Laboratoire d’oncologie virale et moléculaire, Institut Curie, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France.
Although several cytogenetic alterations have been associated with development of Wilms’ tumor, a multigenic neoplasia, molecular mechanisms of its induction, development and maintenance remain to be elucided. In order to characterize these different steps we have developed a unique animal model of Wilms’ tumor constituted by the MAV-1(N) induced avian nephroblastoma. This animal model led to the discovery in our laboratory of a new gene nov (nephroblastoma overexpressed gene) which is overexpressed in all avian nephroblastoma. Expression of the human nov gene (novH), which is down-regulated by WT1, is also deregulated in Wilms’ tumors. Nov characteristics suggest that it would play a role in the control of cellular proliferation and differenciation. Our observations also indicate that nov could be involved in the development of Wilms’ tumors, and represent a marker of their differentiation state.