We have previously reported transformation to growth factor-independent proliferation in the interleukin-3 (IL-3)-dependent cell line FDC-P1 by high-level expression of the valine 12 Harvey RAS oncogene, following from a nonautocrine mechanism. The present study was undertaken to examine nuclear tertiary messenger, transcriptional response gene expression to deduce the intracellular signaling pathways responsible for this autonomous proliferation. We confirmed other reports that transformed p21RAS-expressing cells constitutively express the transcription factor complex jun/AP-1, in this case resulting from the ongoing expression of the c-jun and c-fos genes in the absence of IL-3. However, the ongoing growth factor independent expression of c-myc by a transcriptional mechanism in FDC-P1 cells expressing p21 RAS cannot be explained by intracellular signaling in the jun/AP-1 (protein kinase C) pathway. This conclusion derives from the observation that c-jun expression mediated via protein kinase C activation with phorbol ester (12–0-tetra decanoylphorbol-13-acetate, TPA) treatment does not lead to c-myc expression in parent FDC-P1 cells. On the contrary, FDC-P1 cells stably transfected with a c-myc gene controlled under the influence of a metallothionein IIA promoter (containing the TPA-responsive element [TRE]) express the transfected MTIIA-c-myc and downregulate the endogenous c-myc in response to protein kinase C activation with TPA. Further, nuclear proteins derived from cells expressing p21 RAS, which bind specifically to the purified c-myc P2 promoter, are not competed in their binding to the motif-rich P2 element by AP-1 oligonucleotide. Therefore, expression of the Harvey RAS oncogene in FDC-P1 myeloid cells leads to at least two pathways of cytoplasmic signaling. One pathway involves protein kinase C and c-jun/AP-1, but another pathway that is protein kinase C-independent appears to mediate c-myc transcription.

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