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Environ Health Perspect. 1990 Aug;88:133-9.

Products of the fos and jun proto-oncogenes bind cooperatively to the AP1 DNA recognition sequence.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Biology and Tumor Research, Philipps University of Marburg, Federal Republic of Germany.


The products of the proto-oncogenes c-fos and c-jun form a tight protein complex that is a major component of the transcription factor AP1. To analyze the role of fos in the binding of this complex to the AP1 DNA recognition sequence and the mechanism of interaction in further detail, we have expressed a fos protein in E. coli using an expression vector containing the temperature-inducible lambda PL promoter and a synthetic translational start codon. The fos protein encoded by this construct (termed Baf) was enriched by biochemical purification techniques and was found to form a specific complex with c-jun obtained by in vitro transcription/translation. As shown in gel retardation assays, the baf/jun complex binds to the AP1 DNA recognition sequence with high affinity, while no significant binding was observed with either of the individual protein components, indicating cooperative DNA binding of the two proteins. The fact that the bacterial baf protein does not undergo glycosylation indicates that the post-translational modification of eukaryotic c-fos with N-acetylglucosamine is not required for the formation of a stable fos/jun/DNA complex.

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