Trans-dominant negative mutants of Fos and Jun.
Jun and Fos nuclear oncoproteins form a complex that regulates transcription from promoters containing activator protein AP-1 binding sites. The leucine-zipper and basic-region domains of both Fos and Jun are necessary for formation of the heterodimer that binds to DNA. Reciprocal mutations in the basic region of Fos or Jun can influence the binding of the heterodimer to DNA, implying a symmetrical binding site. DNA-binding mutants of Jun exhibit increased affinity for Fos and are capable of suppressing wild-type Fos-Jun DNA-binding activity. In contrast, mutations in the basic domain of Fos, which prevent binding to DNA in association with Jun, do not significantly diminish the ability of the wild-type heterodimer to bind to DNA. These dominant negative mutants are functional in vivo and can be exploited to study the role of Fos and Jun in normal and transformed cells.