c-myc and c-fos expression in differentiating mouse primary keratinocytes

EMBO J. 1986 Nov;5(11):2853-7. doi: 10.1002/j.1460-2075.1986.tb04579.x.


Expression of the myc and fos genes has been monitored in mouse primary keratinocytes after induction of terminal differentiation by calcium or tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA). myc RNA levels in growing cells are very high and remain elevated even at late times after calcium-induced differentiation. Thus, keratinocytes provide the first example of normal primary cells with persistent c-myc expression irrespective of their proliferative or differentiated state. fos expression is also relatively unaffected by addition of calcium. In contrast to calcium, TPA-induced differentiation is accompanied by dramatic changes in proto-oncogene expression: marked c-fos induction and considerable although transient decrease in c-myc expression. These effects might be important for the keratinocyte response to TPA: TPA treatment of a keratinocyte cell line (RBK) resistant to this substance has no effect on c-myc expression and leads only to minimal c-fos induction. In these cells full fos induction can still be triggered by addition of fresh medium. Thus, the fos gene in normal keratinocytes is inducible through at least two independent mechanisms, only one of which has been lost during derivation of the TPA-resistant cell line.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epidermal Cells*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Keratins / analysis*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Oncogenes*
  • RNA, Neoplasm / analysis


  • RNA, Neoplasm
  • Keratins