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Recept Signal Transduct. 1997;7(4):279-89.

Signaling pathways in the induction of c-fos and c-jun proto-oncogenes by 3-methylcholanthrene.

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Department of Biochemistry, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


3-methylcholanthrene (MC), a potent promutagen and procarcinogen, is also an inducer of mammalian CYPIAI (cytochrome P1-450) gene. The CYPIAI enzyme is responsible for the detoxification of MC and its oxidation into reactive epoxide intermediates. Through its epoxide metabolites, MC functions also as an inducer of drug-metabolizing enzyme glutathione S-transferase (GST) gene expression. Induction of murine GST Ya gene by MC and a variety of other chemical agents is mediated by a regulatory element composed of two adjacent AP-1-like sites, and activated by the Fos/Jun heterodimeric complex (AP-1). In cultured cells, MC causes the induction of AP-1 activity, which is the result of an increased expression of c-Fos and c-Jun proteins. The mechanisms involved in MC activation of c-fos and c-jun gene expression were examined in the present study. Evidence is presented that stimulation of c-fos transcription by MC involves a signal transduction pathway, which includes activation of the small G protein Ras, Raf-1 kinase, and the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases, ERK1 and ERK2. Furthermore, we find that phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, which uses both protein kinase C and protein-tyrosine kinase activities to induce c-fos promoter, may share a common pathway with MC downstream of Ras. The signal transduction pathway induced by MC to stimulate c-jun promoter involves Ras activation and the JNK group of MAP-kinases.

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