The p21 RAS product has been implicated as part of the downstream signaling of certain nonreceptor tyrosine kinase oncogenes and several growth factor receptor-ligand interactions. We have reported that the chronic myelogenous leukemia oncogene p210 bcr-abl transforms a growth- factor-dependent myeloid cell line NFS/N1.H7 to interleukin-3 (IL-3) independence. In these p210 bcr-abl-transformed cells (H7 bcr-abl.A54) and in two other murine myeloid cell lines transformed to IL-3 independence by p210 bcr-abl, endogenous p21 RAS is activated as determined by an elevated ratio of associated guanosine triphosphate (GTP)/guanosine diphosphate (GDP), assayed by thin-layer chromatography of the nucleotides eluted from p21 RAS after immunoprecipitation with the Y13–259 antibody. Treatment of p210 bcr-abl-transformed cells with a specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor herbimycin A resulted in diminished tyrosine phosphorylation of p210 bcr-abl and associated proteins, without major reduction in expression of the p210 bcr-abl protein itself. Inhibition of p210 bcr-abl-dependent tyrosine phosphorylation resulted in a reduction of active p21RAS-GTP complexes in the transformed cells, in diminished expression of the nuclear early response genes c-jun and c-fos, and in lower cellular proliferation rate. To further implicate p21 RAS in these functional events downstream of p210 bcr-abl tyrosine phosphorylation, we targeted G- protein function directly by limiting the availability of GTP with the inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase inhibitor, tiazofurin (TR). In p210 bcr-abl-transformed cells treated for 4 hours with TR, in which the levels of GTP were reduced by 50%, but GDP, guanosine monophosphate, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) were unaffected, p210 bcr-abl tyrosine phosphorylation was at control levels. However, expression of c-fos and c-jun nuclear proto-oncogenes were strongly inhibited and p21 RAS activity was downregulated. These findings show that p210 bcr-abl transduces proliferative signals, in part, through downstream activation of p21 RAS. Furthermore, p21 RAS activity is linked to pathways that regulate c-jun and c-fos expression.