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Oncogene. 1993 Mar;8(3):695-701.

Escape from redox regulation enhances the transforming activity of Fos.

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Department of Tumor Virus Research, University of Tokyo, Japan.


Fos and Jun form dimeric complexes that bind to DNA sequences containing activator protein 1 (AP-1) sites and regulate gene expression. The in vitro DNA-binding activity of these proteins is sensitive to reduction-oxidation (redox). Reduction of a single conserved cysteine residue, located in the DNA-binding domain, either by reducing agents or by a nuclear redox factor (Ref-1), is required for AP-1 DNA-binding activity. Replacing the critical cysteine with serine results in a protein that can bind to DNA in vitro even under oxidizing conditions. To determine whether redox control affects the function of Fos in vivo, we have constructed, and compared the properties of, retroviral vectors expressing either a truncated Fos protein (F118-211) or a truncated Fos protein in which the critical cysteine was replaced by serine (FC154S). In infected chicken embryo fibroblasts (CEFs), both vectors expressed similar levels of Fos protein, which formed heterodimers with Jun at equivalent efficiencies. However, extracts from cells expressing FC154S exhibited a threefold increase in AP-1 DNA-binding activity compared with cells expressing F118-211. Furthermore, this enhanced binding activity was resistant to treatment with the oxidizing agent diamide. Infection of CEFs by virus expressing FC154S resulted in increased numbers of transformed colonies and an increase in colony size compared with those obtained following infection by virus expressing Fos 118-211. These results suggest that redox regulation may limit the total level of functional Fos-Jun complexes in vivo and that escape from this control enhances transforming activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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