The Fos protein complex and several Fos-related antigens (FRA) bind specifically to a sequence element referred to as the HeLa cell activator protein 1 (AP-1) binding site. A combination of structural and immunological comparisons has identified the Fos-associated protein (p39) as the protein product of the jun proto-oncogene (c-Jun). The p39/Jun protein is one of the major polypeptides identified in AP-1 oligonucleotide affinity chromatography extracts of cellular proteins. These preparations of AP-1 also contain Fos and several FRA's. Some of these proteins bind to the AP-1 site directly whereas others, like Fos, appear to bind indirectly via protein-protein interactions. Cell-surface stimulation results in an increase in c-fos and c-jun products. Thus, the products of two protooncogenes (and several related proteins), induced by extracellular stimuli, form a complex that associates with transcriptional control elements containing AP-1 sites, thereby potentially mediating the long-term responses to signals that regulate growth control and development.

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