Previous studies implicate that activation of thromboxane A(2) receptor (TP) induced cell proliferation and transformation in several cell lines. We report here that the activation of TP by its agonist, [1S-[1alpha, 2alpha (Z), 3beta (1E, 3S*), 4alpha]]-7-[3-[3-hydroxy-4-(4-iodophenoxy)-1-butenyl]-7-oxabicyclo [2.2.1] hept-2-yl]-5-heptenoic acid (I-BOP), induced Nurr1 expression and stimulated proliferation of human lung cancer cells. Nurr1, an orphan nuclear receptor in the nuclear receptor subfamily 4A subfamily, has been implicated in cell proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis. I-BOP markedly induced Nurr1 messenger RNA and protein levels as compared with other subfamily members, Nur77 and Nor-1. The signaling pathways of I-BOP-induced Nurr1 expression were examined by using various inhibitors of signaling molecules. The induction of Nurr1 expression by I-BOP appeared to be mediated through protein kinase A (PKA)/cAMP response element binding (CREB), protein kinase C and mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathways and not related to epidermal growth factor receptor and prostaglandin E(2) pathways. Transcriptional activation of Nurr1 gene by I-BOP was further investigated at the promoter level in H157 cells. 5'-Deletion analysis, site-directed mutagenesis and luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that Nurr1 expression was induced by I-BOP in a PKA/CREB-dependent manner. Further studies have revealed that Nurr1 may mediate cyclin D1 expression and I-BOP-induced cell proliferation in H157 cells since small interfering RNA of Nurr1 blocked I-BOP-induced cyclin D1 expression and cell proliferation and also decreased cell growth rate. These results provide strong evidence that Nurr1 plays a significant role in cell proliferation and may mediate TP agonist-induced proliferation in lung cancer cells.