Transformation of T lymphocytes by the v-fos oncogene

J Immunol. 1990 Dec 15;145(12):4355-64.


Activation of T lymphocytes through the T cell antigen receptor has been shown to stimulate a rapid and transient accumulation of c-fos mRNA and protein. Transfection of a normal murine T lymphocyte clone with the FBJ-v-fos oncogene resulted in generation of a cell line that was morphologically transformed, had lost the requirement for IL-2 for proliferation, and was tumorigenic in adult syngeneic mice; however, the transformed cells retained the ability to proliferate in response to IL-2. The transformed cells did not show constitutive expression of IL-2 or c-fos mRNA, although the promoter regions of both IL-2 and c-fos genes contain AP-1 sites that are expected to be targets for binding of Fos/Jun complexes. In contrast, the transformed T cells showed increased constitutive expression of IL-2R alpha and c-myc mRNA; these genes may represent cellular targets for transformation by v-fos and physiologic activation by c-fos. We discuss the possibility that these transformed cells behave as cells partially activated through the TCR, and that transformation occurs through a mechanism independent of IL-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transformation, Viral*
  • Gene Expression
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Interleukin-2 / pharmacology
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Mice
  • Oncogene Proteins v-fos
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral / genetics
  • Oncogenes*
  • Plasmids
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • T-Lymphocytes* / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes* / physiology


  • Interleukin-2
  • Oncogene Proteins v-fos
  • Oncogene Proteins, Viral
  • RNA, Messenger