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Oncogene. 1999 Mar 4;18(9):1733-44.

Attenuated expression of the serum responsive T1 gene in ras transformed fibroblasts due to the inhibition of c-fos gene activity.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University Hospital, Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


The T1 gene encodes a protein, which shares homology with the IL-1 receptors. In fibroblasts, T1 is induced by growth factors and in response to the onset of oncogene expression. The c-fos gene is transiently activated in these situations and was shown to be the major mediator of T1 gene induction. In contrast, the sustained expression of a ras oncogene in NIH3T3 cells resulted in the downregulation of basal T1 gene activity and the attenuation of T1 gene induction in response to mitogenic signals. Likewise, the immediate early genes encoding c-Fos, FosB, and Fra-2 are repressed in these cells. T1 gene repression could be overcome by the forced expression of c-fos in ras transformed fibroblasts. Thus, the lack of c-fos gene expression is the likely cause for ras mediated T1 gene repression. Fra-1, in contrast to the other three members of the Fos family, is permanently synthesized in high amounts in ras transformed NIH3T3 fibroblasts. We show that AP-1, which is abundant in these cells throughout the whole cell cycle, consists predominantly of Fra-1/c-Jun and Fra1/JunD heterodimers. We provide evidence that Fra1/c-Jun heterodimers are responsible for the repression of c-fos gene induction following serum stimulation. The introduction of a dominant negative version of c-Jun into ras transformed fibroblasts was able to rescue c-fos gene induction in response to serum stimulation, further demonstrating that AP-1 is indeed involved in c-fos gene repression. We conclude that oncogenic ras mediates the activation of the fra-1 gene which results in elevated AP-1 activity throughout the cell cycle. Fra-1 containing AP-1 complexes repress the c-fos and possibly other immediate early genes thereby preventing the induction of certain delayed early genes such as the T1 gene in response to mitogenic stimulation.

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