The Jun gene family encode components of the AP-1 transcription factor complex that regulate a variety of TRE-containing target promoters. Expression of family members is induced by a wide variety of extracellular stimuli and thought to be important in mediating cellular proliferation and differentiation. We have localized cis-acting DNA sequences in the murine junB promoter capable of mediating transcriptional activation by the proto-oncogene products c-Ets-1 and c-Ets-2. We show by promoter deletion analysis that multiple elements located between -848 and -574, and between -196 and -91 can mediate transactivation by ETS-family members in different cell types. In vitro DNA binding assays indicate that the elements identified can specifically interact with c-Ets-1 protein. Furthermore, we show that ETS-transactivation of a variety of reporter constructs is dramatically enhanced by introduction of oncogenic Ha-ras. The activation of Ras by extracellular stimuli invokes a phosphorylation cascade that includes the downstream mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase p44ERK-1. We further show that addition of activated p44ERK-1 MAP kinase can also enhance ETS-transactivation of junB promoter reporter constructs. Here we propose that ETS-family members play a role in the activation of junB transcription by a Ras-stimulated signal transducing pathway that includes MAP kinase(s).