Our group reported that inhibiting DNA methylation in human T cells increases DNA methyltransferase expression and activity, and suggested that this may represent a response to DNA hypomethylation. The increase correlates with increases in Ha-ras and c-jun, suggesting that increased signaling through the ras-MAPK pathway, due to overexpression of some elements, may be responsible. However, whether human DNA MTase is regulated by the ras-MAPK pathway, and whether overexpression of elements in this pathway will increase DNA MTase, is unknown. We report that treating cells with a DNA methylation inhibitor increases transcription regulated by a putative DNA MTase promoter, and that this increase requires AP-1 sites. Additional studies demonstrate that overexpression of an unmutated Ha-ras causes an increase in DNA MTase, and that human T cell DNA MTase can be decreased by inhibiting signaling through the ras-MAPK pathway. Together, these studies suggest that human T cell DNA MTase is regulated through the ras-MAPK pathway, and that overexpression of Ha-ras is sufficient to increase DNA MTase expression. These results thus provide a mechanism for the increase in DNA MTase observed after inducing DNA hypomethylation, a response which may have relevance to some disease states.