Interleukin-1 (IL-1) is a major regulator of inflammation and immunity. IL-1 induces T lymphocyte growth by acting as a second signal (together with antigen) in enhancing the production of interleukin-2 (IL-2). An IL-1-responsive element in the promoter region of the human IL-2 gene was similar to the binding site for the transcription factor AP-1. IL-1 enhanced expression of c-jun messenger RNA, whereas the antigenic signal enhanced messenger RNA expression of c-fos. Thus, the two components of the AP-1 factor are independently regulated and the AP-1 factor may serve as a nuclear mediator for the many actions of IL-1 on cells.