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J Cell Sci. 2004 Dec 1;117(Pt 25):5965-73.

AP-1 subunits: quarrel and harmony among siblings.

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  • 1Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, Division of Signal Transduction and Growth Control, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.


The AP-1 transcription factor is mainly composed of Jun, Fos and ATF protein dimers. It mediates gene regulation in response to a plethora of physiological and pathological stimuli, including cytokines, growth factors, stress signals, bacterial and viral infections, as well as oncogenic stimuli. Studies in genetically modified mice and cells have highlighted a crucial role for AP-1 in a variety of cellular events involved in normal development or neoplastic transformation causing cancer. However, emerging evidence indicates that the contribution of AP-1 to determination of cell fates critically depends on the relative abundance of AP-1 subunits, the composition of AP-1 dimers, the quality of stimulus, the cell type and the cellular environment. Therefore, AP-1-mediated regulation of processes such as proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis and transformation should be considered within the context of a complex dynamic network of signalling pathways and other nuclear factors that respond simultaneously.

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