We have examined the effect of leukotriene B4 (LTB4), a potent lipid proinflammatory mediator, on the expression of the proto-oncogenes c-jun and c-fos. In addition, we looked at the modulation of nuclear factors binding specifically to the AP-1 element after LTB4 stimulation. LTB4 increased the expression of the c-fos gene in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. The c-jun mRNA, which is constitutively expressed in human peripheral-blood monocytes at relatively high levels, was also slightly augmented by LTB4, although to a much lower extent than c-fos. The kinetics of expression of the two genes were also slightly different, with c-fos mRNA reaching a peak at 15 min after stimulation and c-jun at 30 min. Both messages rapidly declined thereafter. Stability of the c-fos and c-jun mRNA was not affected by LTB4, as assessed after actinomycin D treatment. Nuclear transcription studies in vitro showed that LTB4 increased the transcription of the c-fos gene 7-fold and the c-jun gene 1.4-fold. Resting monocytes contained nuclear factors binding to the AP-1 element, but stimulation of monocytes with LTB4 induced greater AP-1-binding activity of nuclear proteins. These results indicate that LTB4 may regulate the production of different cytokines by modulating the yield and/or the function of transcription factors such as AP-1-binding proto-oncogene products.

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