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Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 1993;45 Suppl 1:S9-15; discussion S43-4.

Various modes of gene regulation by nuclear receptors for steroid and thyroid hormones.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Center for Molecular Genetics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla.


AP-1 is a transcriptional activator composed of homo- and heterodimers of Jun and Fos proteins. It is involved in activation of genes, such as collagenase, stromelysin, IL-2 and TGF beta 1, by tumour promoters, growth factors and cytokines. AP-1 activity is also elevated in response to transforming oncogenes and is required for cell proliferation. AP-1 activity is subject to complex regulation both transcriptionally and post-transcriptionally. Transcriptional control of jun and fos gene expression determines the amount and composition of the AP-1 complex. The jun and fos genes are regulated both positively and negatively and are highly inducible in response to extracellular stimuli. Post translational control is also important. Both cJun and cFos are subject to regulated phosphorylation. In the case of cJun, phosphorylation of sites near the DNA-binding domain inhibits DNA-binding, while dephosphorylation reverses this inhibition. Phosphorylation of cJun on sites within the N-terminal activation domain increases its ability to activate transcription. The protein kinase phosphorylating these sites is stimulated by cytokines and growth factors. Another mechanism modulating AP-1 activity is transcriptional interference by members of the nuclear receptor family and is relevant for the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In RA, chronic inflammation leads to increased AP-1 activity in T cells,macrophages and synoviocytes as a response to secretion of cytokines such as IL-1 and TNF alpha. While the IL-2 gene plays a major role in T cell activation, another AP-1 target gene encodes an enzyme, collagenase, responsible for destruction of bone and tendon.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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