Fos and Jun family proteins regulate the expression of a myriad of genes in a variety of tissues and cell types. This functional versatility emerges from their interactions with related bZIP proteins and with structurally unrelated transcription factors. These interactions at composite regulatory elements produce nucleoprotein complexes with high sequence-specificity and regulatory selectivity. Several general principles including binding cooperativity and conformational adaptability have emerged from studies of regulatory complexes containing Fos-Jun family proteins. The structural properties of Fos-Jun family proteins including opposite orientations of heterodimer binding and the ability to bend DNA can contribute to the assembly and functions of such complexes. The cooperative recruitment of transcription factors, coactivators and chromatin remodeling factors to promoter and enhancer regions generates multiprotein transcription regulatory complexes with cell- and stimulus-specific transcriptional activities. The gene-specific architecture of these complexes can mediate the selective control of transcriptional activity.