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Rapid And Preferential Activation Of The C-jun Gene During The Mammalian UV Response.

Y Devary, R A Gottlieb, L F Lau, M Karin

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Exposure of mammalian cells to DNA-damaging agents leads to activation of a genetic response known as the UV response. Because several previously identified UV-inducible genes contain AP-1 binding sites within their promoters, we investigated the induction of AP-1 activity by DNA-damaging agents. We found that expression of both c-jun and c-fos, which encode proteins that participate in formation of the AP-1 complex, is rapidly induced by two different DNA-damaging agents: UV and H2O2. Interestingly, the c-jun gene is far more responsive to UV than any other immediate-early gene that was examined, including c-fos. Other jun and fos genes were only marginally affected by UV or H2O2. Furthermore, UV is a much more efficient inducer of c-jun than phorbol esters, the standard inducers of c-jun expression. This preferential response of the c-jun gene is mediated by its 5' control region and requires the TPA response element, suggesting that this element also serves as an early target for the signal transduction pathway elicited by DNA damage. Both UV and H2O2 lead to a long-lasting increase in AP-1 binding activity, suggesting that AP-1 may mediate the induction of other damage-inducible genes such as human collagenase.